Like many other sectors, the industry is in the midst of change. Increasing digitalization and networking give rise to new technologies and processes, but, above all, create significant potential for automation and optimization.
Modern software engineering and its strengths Part II
ctrlX AUTOMATION thrives and develops based on the requirements and experiences of its users. Accordingly, the automation toolkit is always aligned with the needs of modern software engineering. Dr. Andreas Angerer, Head of Research & Innovation at XITASO GmbH, is an experienced specialist, partner and user of the automation toolkit and highlights its potential for automation in software integration. What does “automation in automation” mean for software engineering?
Nowadays, software engineering is characterized by collaboration across teams and organizations, technological heterogeneity and interdisciplinarity. Like in many other sectors, however, time-to-market in automation is a crucial factor, which quickly leads to conflicting objectives.
Large-scale collaboration and heterogeneity require a great deal of integration work. However, the effort involved jeopardizes a short time-to-market. To solve this problem, the DevOps philosophy has been developed – it allows regular, frequent releases during complex development projects. Essentially, the aim is to automate manual integration work as much as possible.
Software integration is made easier or more difficult by various factors. These include the structuring and interfaces of the software components, the interfaces to IDEs and development tools for automating integration and deployment activities and the infrastructure for developing and operating a software solution.
DevOps environments therefore play an important role in further developing software solutions and are increasingly being used to monitor system operation. In many cases, specific tools for the relevant platform are used as well.
Essentially speaking, ctrlX AUTOMATION allows the automation of software integration within automation. This relates for example to the structuring and interfaces of the software components or the infrastructure for operating and further developing a software solution. The planning tools of ctrlX AUTOMATION are well matched to the DevOps philosophy: planning activities which are carried out manually can be automated using Python scripts.
For structuring applications, ctrlX AUTOMATION has a special technological feature which can make software integration in an automation context much easier. The Scheduler allows a number of independent, real-time-capable applications to be executed in parallel. This also applies to IEC61131 applications: individual PLC tasks can be started, stopped or even redeployed separately. As a result, parts of a control application can even be updated while the system is running.
In the case of automation systems, the automation of testing is often a particular challenge. A number of available components of ctrlX AUTOMATION, for example ctrlX MOTION, support a simulation mode and thus test automation which comes close to final operation.
These are just a few of the advantages of ctrlX AUTOMATION for software engineering. All in all, the platform is synonymous with a new generation of industrial control systems. The control architecture of ctrlX AUTOMATION is very well thought out and overcomes various hurdles when it comes to software development in a control context. The openness promise is a serious one and gives customers, developers and the product itself access to numerous software technologies in the rapidly changing IT and IoT world. For me, ctrlX AUTOMATION is thus the ideal platform for modern, collaborative software engineering in an automation context.
Would you like to learn more about the strengths of ctrlX AUTOMATION for modern engineering? Then read part 1 of the interview about the advantages of the software architecture and openness of the automation toolkit.
If you have any questions or require further information regarding ctrlX AUTOMATION, please contact us:
Dr. Andreas Angerer
Head of Research & Innovation
at XITASO GmbH