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New era for plug & play automation heralded

05 November 2021

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC has joined other industrial leaders and pioneers to form UniversalAutomation.org (UAO), an independent, not-for-profit association managing the reference implementation 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.

Further current founding and intended members include Aalto University, Advantech, Asus, Belden, Cargill, eaw Relaistechnik, 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, Schneider Electric, Shell, VP Process, Wilo, Wood and Yokogawa. Others are expected to join soon, with the organisation actively recruiting new members.

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 organisation seeks to create an entirely new category of industrial automation and unleash the full potential of Industry 4.0.

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.

“Industrial operations are undergoing a total transformation,” said John Conway, president of UniversalAutomation.org. “As the IT sector has proven, advances in machine learning, augmented reality, real-time analytics, and the IoT hold great promise for step change advancements in performance, agility, and sustainability. However, within industry this promise is being held back by closed and proprietary automation platforms that restrict widespread adoption, hamper innovation, are challenging to integrate with third-party components, and are expensive to upgrade and maintain. Using a shared runtime changes all that.”

universalautomation.org

 
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