design once use everywhere Framework for Industrial
Automation & Control
Modular and more flexible control of Inputs & Outputs (I/O)
2017-10-18 22:10 Age: 1 days

Since the beginning of times, the border between software and hardware was a very conflictive one. Until now, FORTE used an IO architecture that allowed users to select the actual hardware IO to be controlled by a Function Block by a simple change on the PARAM data input of it. This was improved by the introduction of VirtualDNS. But this approach has some issues, among which we could highlight the lack of modularity for I/O. PLCs' I/O often come as modules that you can easily attach to your device to extend its capabilities. This wasn't possible to emulate using FORTE and 4DIAC, but fear no more, because those days are over!

FORTE has recently added a very nice feature to its develop branch. After a lot of work and effort, a new architecture was introduced to allow FORTE and 4DIAC to handle modularity in I/O. The new architecture was developed as a new process interface prepare for modularity in a very abstract way, making it very flexible such that all other process interfaces can be implemented using the new one. It also allows to keep old code working, meaning that is not mandatory for users to change to the new architecture.

Soon the complete information about the new architecture and how to use it will be uploaded to the documentation, making it easier for users to adapt to the new features. Stay tuned to the news and forum, because this is really good!

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Talk on Using Edge Devices for Control Tasks
2017-10-11 19:42 Age: 8 days

At the upcoming cluster forum Cloud Computing organized by the Cluster Mechatronik & Automation e.V. Florian Froschermeier (INSYS icom) will present how their edge device can be utilized in automation. This will also include how to use edge devices as controllers with 4diac. Details on the program and registration for the cluster forum cloud computing can be found here

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


10 Years and Counting
2017-10-09 18:00 4diac's birthday cake Age: 10 days

In 2006 a handful researchers had a crazy idea: to provide a full-fledged open source IEC 61499 PLC environment, based on the results of two public funded research projects. The idea of 4diac was born. A year later, they presented the first 4diac version at the IEEE INDIN conference in Vienna. Now ten years later the idea does not look so crazy anymore. As Thomas Strasser (AIT), one of the co-founders, points it out: "It is so exiting to celebrate the first 10 years of 4diac, to see a lot of users implementing academic applications but to recognize increasingly more and more industry-related applications. This is a very good basis for the further development and usage of 4diac."

Lisbeth Mosnik (Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology) stresses the importance of R&D for innovation: "4diac is a glowing example how publicly funded R&D projects and the availability of results (i.e., open science) can pave the ground for innovation ecosystems. We appreciate that the results are broadly used by a growing community, including a successful Austrian start-up."

Indeed, 4diac has grown with each release. 4diac-ide got more stable, more user-friendly and supported IEC 61499 better. Also FORTE changed a lot: it got more than twice as fast, uses only a third of its initial flash size and what is maybe the most important point 4diac now runs on several PLCs (e.g., Wago PFC 200, Bosch Rexroth XM22). It is even an official Eclipse incubation project now.

But not only the number of supported platforms has increased, also the amount of supported communication interfaces has increased significantly from the humble beginnings of plain TCP/IP support to nowadays integration of MQTT, OPC, and OPC UA, as well as several fieldbuses like ModBus, EtherNet/IP, PowerLink, Wago K-Bus and many more. 4diac has not only followed the needs of Industry 4.0 but also shaped it with its ideas, concepts and the teams hard work. "A lot of thought and functionality has gone into 4diac in the last ten years, always with the needs of the users and ease of use as our guideline", Martin Melik Merkumians (TU Wien/ACIN), Senior project member.

This would not been possible without the feedback from our users. Gerhard Ebenhofer (Profactor GmbH), one of the co-founders, points it out very nicely: "Many thanks for the feedback from our users (community) and for the fruitful brainstorming and discussion sessions we, the developers, had in the last ten years. I am looking forward to many more constructive discussions for further improvements in the next ten years."  Therefore, hear what they have say on 4diac's anniversary:

Even after ten years, the 4diac team is not tired and has many ideas for improving and extending 4diac. The next ten years are going to be just as exciting. "For example, in the upcoming 1.9 release finally we will get subapplications and dynamically downloadable types (no more C++ compiling needed!)."  says Alois Zoitl (fortiss GmbH), the creative leader behind 4diac.

With that, we are looking forward to the next ten years!

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


4diac at SICE2017
2017-10-07 08:34 Age: 12 days

By invitation and support of Japan Electric Measuring Instruments Manufacturers' Association (JEMIMA) Alois Zoitl was able to present IEC 61499 and Eclipse 4diac at the SICE2017 conference in Kanazawa Japan. SICE2017 is the annual conference of the Japanese Society of Instrument and Control Engineers. Alois Zoitl's introduction plenary talk on Future Control System Architecture Enabling Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing featured the importance of IEC 61499 and showed how 4diac utilizing OPC UA can provide a potential solution for implementing Service-oriented (Machine) Control Architectures.

In addition, Alois Zoitl also participated in International Symposium on Smart Manufacturing and Industrial Network, which is a part of SICE2017 program. There 4diac was discussed among other important topics for automation such as device integration with FDT or security for control components.

panel discusion on standards for smart manufacturing

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Energy Load Management with 4diac by Awite Bioenergie GmbH
2017-10-04 08:34 Age: 15 days

As part of the CPSE Labs project, which received funding by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644400, Awite Bioenergie GmbH successfully completed its experiment on Energy and Load Management in Process Technology Using IEC 61499 and 4diac. Enjoy the summary of their results on youtube:

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


4diac-ide Code Migrated to Eclipse Infrastructure
2017-08-30 22:50 Age: 49 days

Today we finally concluded a next major step in our migration to the Eclipse Foundation premises: we moved the the 4diac-ide code to the new git repo. This is an important milestone towards the 1.9 release.

We have disabled public access to the old repository. Please use the new link from now on.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


INSYS icom Provides Preconfigured 4diac Containers
2017-06-28 19:30 Age: 113 days

A few weeks ago we presented how the MR routers from INSYS icom can be turned into PLCs with 4diac. Now we are happy to announce that INSYS icom is providing preconfigured 4diac enabled application containers for this routers. This greatly reduces the setup and getting started effort for using 4diac on MR routers. Details can be found at the INSYS icom website.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Connecting 4diac Applications with Matlab Simulation Model
2017-06-10 20:15 Age: 131 days

4diac user Marc Jakobi developed a communicating library in Matlab, which allows connecting IEC 61499 control applications with simulation models in Matlab. The library, which is available as open source, implements the Client/Server protocol defined in the IEC 61499 compliance profile for feasibility demonstrations. Therefore, on the 4diac side you just need to insert a server communication function block. For detailed documentation as well as the library code, please have a look at the tcpip4diac project on GitHub.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Turning Communication Devices into PLCs
2017-05-30 18:00 Age: 142 days

With routers and switches getting more powerful they become a perfect target to execute control algorithms on them. Together with the company INSYS icom we give a first impression of how this could be achieved with 4diac in an german article in the SPS Magazine.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Sneak Peek on SPS/IPC/DRIVES Demonstrator
2017-05-22 14:44 Age: 150 days

In the last weeks, the fortiss team was busy setting up the demonstrator for the SPS/IPC/DRIVES Italy starting tomorrow. It features cool things like a 3D printed factory model, 4diac applications running on the Bosch Rexroth XM22 PLC, IoT connectivity with MQTT, and an HMI with HTML5.
Got curious? Then visit us in Parma to see it!

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


3d printed factory model
3d printed factory model
uMIC.200 Control Device Support
2017-05-14 19:50 Age: 158 days

With our work on 4diac 1.9.0 we are proud to announce that FORTE now supports the uMIC.200 control devices from the company MicroControl. The uMIC.200 is a compact automation controller, which features in addtion to 8 digital IOs also several communication interfaces. Details can be found at the uMIC.200 website.

For testing grab the latest FORTE version from the development branch of FORTE's Git repository.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


uMic.200
Source: MicroControl
4diac @ RMLL 2017 in France
2017-05-08 15:00 Age: 164 days

As representant of the FOSSEE (Free and Open Source Software for Education) Project based at IIT Bombay Mr. Akshai will give a talk at RMLL 2017 in France on Monday 3rd July 2017. It will be about "Learning Industrial Automation and Control using FLOSS and Open Source Hardware" containing a 4diac demonstration. Looking forward to your attention.

Due to personal reasons Mr. Akshai will unfortunately not be able to attend the conference. We wish him all the best and will be pleased to announce an alternative event for his presentation.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


4diac in Action @ SPS/IPC/DRIVES Italy
2017-05-05 19:00 Age: 167 days

At the 2017 SPS/IPC/DRIVES Italy (May 23.-25.) we will show 4diac FORTE running on Bosch Rexroth XM22 PLC controlling a 3d printed production system model and communicating to higher level systems using MQTT. Looking forward to meet you at the Bosch Rexroth booth (Pavillon 5 – Stand H038).

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Seminar: Getting started with IEC 61499
2017-05-04 22:20 Age: 168 days

As a part of the seminar series organized by the Bavarian Mechatronics & Automation Cluster, fortiss offers a course introducing the IEC 61499 standard. The full-day course (in German) will be held on June 27th in Munich. It will give an overview of the models defined in IEC 61499 and how to apply them to the development of distributed automation and control systems utilizing the Eclipse 4diac.

Further details and registration information can be found on the web-page of the seminar.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


For those who missed it: 4diac Virtual IoT Meetup Video
2017-02-25 16:20 Age: 236 days

On February 16th we gave a short overview on IEC 61499 and 4diac. If you missed the video of the talk is now online.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team



1st Milestone on our Way to 1.9.0
2017-02-08 11:26 release Age: 252 days

After roughly 10 months of hard work the clean-up and rework of 4diac-ide reached a state where we would like to share it with you. Just to give you an impression: we deleted more than 200 files and touched nearly all of our more then 2500 Java files.

The biggest observable change is that 4diac now uses IEC 61499-2 xml files for storing automation systems. In order to make the transition as easy as possible for you 4diac projects stored with 1.8.x already contain this file and can be imported and opened as before. For the best experience we recommend to use projects saved with 1.8.4.

Furthermore you will find some UI cleanups and smaller usability improvements which would not be possible in the old architecture.

In addition to the 4diac-ide we also added a preview of FORTE in this milestone release which contains as main new feature a first support for OPC UA utilizing the open62541 library.

The next steps are to re-add subapplication support to 4diac-ide and finish the work on Bosch Rexroth IndraWorks PLC and Hilscher‘s netX chip support for FORTE.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


4th Maintenance Release for 4diac 1.8
2017-02-02 10:38 release Age: 258 days

We are proud to announce the fourth maintenance release for 4DIAC 1.8 providing a set of bug fixes to 4diac-ide, and forte. As always please download, test, and report problems and bugs.

The main changes are:

Many thanks to all who contributed by activating the automated error reporting (AERI)! AERI helps us to improve 4diac's stability, without the high effort of writting full bug reports.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team


Virtual IoT Meetup up Industrial IoT with 4diac
2017-01-29 22:15 Age: 263 days

In the next Virtual IoT Meetup on Fabruary 16th we will present how 4diac can be used to not only develop real-time control applications but also how to enhance it with IoT connectivity. For more details have a look on the Virtual IoT Meetup page.

Cheers,
The 4diac Team