UniversalAutomation.org to Create New Era of Plug and Play Automation

Author photo: Harry Forbes
ByHarry Forbes
Industry Trends

Schneider Electric and other industrial leaders and pioneers have joined together to form UniversalAutomation.org (UAO), an independent, not-for-profit association managing the reference Plug and Play Automationimplementation of a shared source runtime. For the first time, IT and OT software vendors, industrial end users, OEMs, and academics will share a common automation software layer across their automation technology — regardless of brand.

UniversalAutomation.org will drive the development of a vendor-agnostic ecosystem of portable and interoperable “plug and produce” software that can run with almost any hardware. By decoupling software and hardware, sharing a reference runtime implementation of the IEC 61499 standard, and merging the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) worlds, the organization seeks to create an entirely new category of industrial automation and unleash the full potential of Industry 4.0.

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. Others are expected to join soon, with the organization actively recruiting new members.

Members will work together to develop and adopt the next generation of universal automation solutions by collectively incrementing the runtime following shared source principles. Members will have access and the ability to shape the next generation of automation. All entities looking to help advance industrial automation are encouraged to join.

Portability is already a reality in other market sectors. For example, mobile applications are developed to run across different smartphone vendors, enabling rapid advances through collective innovation. Until now, the industrial world has worked differently, with closed proprietary architectures and hardware-dependent software.

Harry Forbes, ARC Advisory Group, commented, "Industrial automation software runtime environments have always been highly proprietary.  In the IT world, the high value of a common runtime has been apparent for years and is now taken for granted.  The real-time nature of industrial automation software makes commonality more difficult for industrial control. This new organization (universalautomation.org) is the first time that multiple automation suppliers have collaborated on a common runtime environment. This is very promising for the future of highly interoperable automation systems in both plants and factories."  

To find out more visit: https://universalautomation.org/

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