UniversalAutomation.org – Time for universal automation

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UniversalAutomation.org is an independent, non-profit association of manufacturers, OEMs, system integrators, universities, and startups that manages the implementation of a shared-source runtime of industrial automation, based on the IEC61499 interoperability standard.

This new level of shared technology provides the foundation for an ecosystem of portable, interoperable, «plug and produce» solutions and creates an entirely new category within industrial automation. UniversalAutomation.org is open to new members who want to change the automation game.

Members of UniversalAutomation.org will have unique development power and access to the next generation of universal automation solutions, working collaboratively. UniversalAutomation.org will act as a centralized center for automation intelligence.

In essence, it is a reference implementation of a runtime environment based on the IEC 61499 standard, which is managed, maintained, and extended by members as a so-called shared resource. Users benefit from tighter IT / OT interconnection, seamless interoperability of control components, and portability of software applications regardless of hardware.

«UniversalAutomation.org represents the beginning of a new era of industrial automation,» says Dr. Barbara Frei, executive vice president of industrial automation for Schneider Electric. «Today’s architectures have long supported and updated the industry. But if you want to take sustainability, innovation and agility to a new level, there is no way around portable and interoperable software. To do this , we have to fundamentally rethink our current systems and processes and work together in a whole new way. UniversalAutomation.org makes exactly that possible. «

A manufacturer-independent automation approach within the meaning of IEC 61499 offers enormous potential, especially for the simplified and freer engineering of even the most complex systems. Based on the runtime environment managed by UniversalAutomation.Org, it is possible to fundamentally decouple hardware and software from each other. As required by IEC 61499, automated applications can be modeled purely on the software side and with the help of pre-made function blocks. In this way, engineering is not only significantly simplified, it is also faster and less prone to errors.

Not only does manufacturer independent automation offer an unprecedented level of engineering freedom. A new category of software-centric automation components is also emerging. Based on object-oriented programming and fundamental hardware independence, it is possible to obtain pre-built and tested software applications from an app store and freely install them on the underlying physical system. For automation software developers, this creates a vast field of new sales and business opportunities. At the same time, the uncomplicated availability and integrability of the software components means that completely new possibilities open up for the development and operation of modern machines, for example, in terms of higher efficiency, sustainability or reliability.

Organizations involved in UniversalAutomation.org include: Aalto University, Advantech, Asus, Belden, Cargill, eaw Relaistechnik GmbH, ESA, ETP, Flexbridge, Georgia-Pacific, GR3N, Hirschmann, HTW Berlin, Intel, Jetter, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Kongsberg Maritime, Lawrence Technological University, Lumberg Automation, Phoenix Contact, ProSoft, R. Stahl, Shell, VP Process, Wilo, Wood and Yokogawa.


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