After I published my blog: CODESYS – The “Android” Of The Automation Industry, I received enormous and great feedback on how many are still on the lookout for more information on CODESYS and one even asked why it “will give Siemens and Allen Bradley a run for their money because of availability.” Thank you Michael Cox, for this inspiring comment. Then again, there are tons of great benefits and working mechanisms you can get off of CODESYS, it’s impossible to summarise EVERYTHING in one short form space. This blog will focus more on CODESYS, Siemens, and Allen Bradley. Both the good and bad.
Table of content:
- CODESYS, A Contender on the rise
- Availability and vendor independence (why Siemens and Allen Bradley are “running for their money”
- International standard compliance
- (For a fair game) Would Siemens and Allen Bradley be able to work together with CODESYS though? Are there any possible space where they can collaborate? In fact are there any strengths CODESYS can yet to compete?
CODESYS, A Contender on the rise
CODESYS was created in 1994 by the German company 3S-Smart Software Solutions GmbH. Initially, it gained traction in the industrial automation sector during the late 1990s and early 2000s. As a vendor-independent and versatile platform, CODESYS gradually gained popularity, especially due to its ability to integrate with a wide range of hardware from various manufacturers. Over the years, it has established itself as a significant player in the field of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and has continued to evolve to meet the changing demands of the industry.
Availability and vendor independence (why Siemens and Allen Bradley are “running for their money”
CODESYS’s availability and vendor independence are significant factors contributing to its competitiveness against industry giants like Siemens and Allen Bradley:
- Vendor Independence
CODESYS is not tied to a specific hardware manufacturer. This allows users to choose from a wide range of hardware options from various manufacturers. In contrast, Siemens and Allen Bradley have more closed ecosystems, limiting users to their specific product lines.
- Hardware Compatibility
CODESYS supports a diverse range of hardware platforms from different manufacturers. This extensive compatibility provides users with more options and flexibility when selecting PLC hardware for their projects. Siemens and Allen Bradley, while offering high-quality products, are limited to their own proprietary hardware.
- Reduced Dependency on a Single Vendor
With CODESYS, users are not reliant on a single vendor for their automation solutions. This reduces the risk associated with vendor lock-in and allows for greater adaptability to changing project requirements.
The availability of compatible hardware from various manufacturers can lead to cost savings in both initial setup and ongoing maintenance. This makes CODESYS an attractive option for cost-conscious projects.
- Competitive Advantage for Smaller Manufacturers
Smaller or newer PLC hardware manufacturers can gain a competitive edge by providing hardware compatible with CODESYS. This allows them to enter the market without the need to develop their own programming environment.
- Easier System Migration
For existing systems that may have hardware from different manufacturers, CODESYS provides a seamless platform for integration and migration. This can be especially valuable for companies looking to upgrade or expand their automation systems.
- Global Availability
CODESYS has a widespread presence in the global automation market. Its availability across different regions and countries makes it an accessible choice for a diverse range of projects worldwide.
- Stimulates Innovation and Competition
The availability of a vendor-independent platform like CODESYS fosters innovation and competition among PLC hardware manufacturers. This benefits the industry as a whole by driving advancements in technology and lowering costs.
In summary, CODESYS’s vendor independence and hardware compatibility provide users with a level of flexibility and choice that is not as readily available with proprietary systems like Siemens and Allen Bradley. This is why these industry giants may find themselves facing strong competition from CODESYS in the industrial automation market.
International standard compliance: IEC 61131-3
If you’re a manufacturer: this will be a good read: Questioning IEC 61131-3 From A Manufacturer’s Perspective.
CODESYS is IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) compliant. It adheres to the international standards set by the IEC for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and their programming environments. This compliance ensures that CODESYS meets the industry-recognised requirements for safety, reliability, and interoperability in industrial automation. It is designed to support the IEC 61131-3 standard, which defines the programming languages, data types, and other aspects of PLC programming. This standardisation allows CODESYS to be used in a wide range of industrial applications while ensuring compatibility with other IEC-compliant systems and components.
How Does IEC 61131-3 Help? The main reason lies in its various language capabilities and ease of use. Users and vendors can expect less waste of human resources due to less system maintenance times, debugging, and training. Controllers can be used together from different locations, projects, or companies with fewer errors and increased performance. IEC 61131 allows you to stop being committed and disrupted by vendor lock-in to its universal state and nature. It’s applicable in a wide range of environments with enough connectivity features.
(For a fair game) Would Siemens and Allen Bradley be able to work together with CODESYS though? Are there any possible space where they can collaborate? In fact are there any strengths CODESYS can yet to compete?
Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS can work together in certain scenarios, primarily through protocols and standards that facilitate interoperability in industrial automation systems. Here are some potential areas of collaboration:
Common Industrial Protocols
Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS all support widely used industrial communication protocols such as Modbus, OPC UA, EtherNet/IP, and PROFINET. This allows devices from these different platforms to communicate and share data seamlessly.
OPC UA is an open, platform-independent standard for industrial communication. Both Siemens and Allen Bradley have adopted OPC UA, making it possible to integrate their products with CODESYS-based systems.
Middleware and Gateway Solutions
Middleware or gateway solutions can be used to bridge communication between Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS devices. These solutions can translate protocols and facilitate data exchange.
Mixed Vendor Environments
In large-scale industrial setups, it’s common to have equipment from various manufacturers. CODESYS can act as a programming and control platform that harmonises different hardware components, including those from Siemens and Allen Bradley.
Integration through PLCopen Standards
PLCopen is an organisation that develops and maintains standards for industrial automation, including programming languages and interfaces. All three (Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS) adhere to these standards, which can ease integration efforts.
Some devices are designed to support multiple communication protocols. In such cases, they can be programmed using CODESYS, while still communicating with existing Siemens or Allen Bradley equipment.
Collaborative Projects and Consortia
In specific industries or projects, there might be collaborative efforts or industry consortia that set common standards for automation systems. These standards can facilitate interoperability among different vendors.
Custom Middleware Development
Custom middleware solutions can be developed to specifically address integration challenges between Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS. These solutions can be tailored to the specific needs of a project.
It’s important to note that while collaboration and integration are possible, they may require additional configuration, middleware, or specific hardware components. Additionally, ensuring compatibility and successful integration may depend on the specific versions and configurations of the devices and software involved. Ultimately, the feasibility and ease of collaboration between Siemens, Allen Bradley, and CODESYS will be determined by the specific requirements and constraints of the industrial automation project at hand.
Regarding strengths CODESYS can still improve on, it’s essential to consider areas like advanced analytics and machine learning integration, cybersecurity enhancements, and the development of specialised modules for specific industry applications. Additionally, continuous improvement in user interface and ease of use, as well as further expanding support for emerging technologies, could be areas for further development.
3S-Smart Software Solutions, the company behind CODESYS, releases regular updates to the platform. These updates include bug fixes, performance enhancements, and the introduction of new features and functionalities. CODESYS continues to evolve to support emerging technologies in industrial automation. This may include compatibility with IoT devices, Industry 4.0 standards, and other cutting-edge advancements. With the increasing importance of cybersecurity in industrial automation, CODESYS receives updates to strengthen its security features, protecting systems from potential vulnerabilities and threats.
3S-Smart Software Solutions actively listens to user feedback and incorporates valuable suggestions into the development process. This ensures that the platform addresses the evolving needs of its user base. CODESYS maintains a vibrant community that fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing among users. Additionally, regular updates and continuous development efforts ensure that CODESYS remains at the forefront of industrial automation technology, providing users with access to the latest features and capabilities. This combination of a robust community and ongoing development efforts strengthens CODESYS’s position as a leading platform in the field of programmable logic controllers.
For more detailed guidance and expert consultation on incorporating CODESYS into your automation setup, feel free to contact our team.
Contact us HERE if you’re interested in implementing CODESYS in your industrial projects to unlock its benefits and drive innovation in your industry.
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