Schneider Electric has announced its EcoStruxure Automation Expert solution’s seamless integration with Phoenix Contact’s PLCnext Technology. This significant development propels the industrial world towards open, software-defined automation.
This collaboration affords industrial operators unparalleled efficiency in engineering and maintenance through easy application portability and interoperability. Managed by UniversalAutomation.org, an independent, non-profit association, the shared runtime execution engine, adhering to the IEC 61499 standard, fosters an ecosystem of automation software applications that function independently from the underlying hardware. This advancement in software-defined automation enables industrial entities to amalgamate various automation solutions, breaking free from the restrictions of closed, proprietary systems.
EcoStruxure Automation Expert, a completely open and interoperable software-centric system, is ingeniously crafted to decouple automation software from hardware. It seamlessly integrates solutions from diverse automation vendors, offering unmatched freedom for industrial enterprises, as well as advanced agility and simplicity for system integrators and OEMs in the field of industrial automation. Now, industrial companies can activate Phoenix Contact PLCnext controllers with the UniversalAutomation.org runtime, facilitating the development and deployment of applications to one or more PLCnext controllers using EcoStruxure Automation Expert.
The transition to software-defined automation is increasingly critical, as highlighted by industry analyst IDC. Jonathan Lang, Research Director at IDC, emphasises the practical and prescriptive implications of the technology’s availability and its impact on organisations.
Andrew Vanderpool, Senior Project Engineer at Phoenix Contract and Co-Chair of the OPAF Technical Working Group, comments on the collaboration with Schneider Electric: “This partnership has underlined the flexible and open nature of the PLCnext Technology, advancing our collective approach to universal automation.”
Fabrice Jadot, Senior Vice President at Schneider Electric, adds, “This deployment demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of automation solutions that perform efficiently across diverse systems, offering greater flexibility in our rapidly changing digital landscape. The full potential of Industry 4.0 can only be realised through collaborative efforts, with partners working together within open architectures to positively influence industrial operations.”