ABB Automation Builder is PLC programming software made by ABB. ABB Automation Builder allows for machine builders and system integrators the ability to automate machines and systems in a cost-effective way. Industrial automation has been around for decades. Many processes have now become so complex that the job of efficiently automating processes has become cost-prohibited for traditional approaches. This complexity also means that no one supplier can supply all the components of the production line so these will come from different vendors, raising potential incompatibility issues.
To address this and other related issues, the United States and Germany started the Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 initiatives. These initiatives use, as a foundation, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which links machines, sensors and actuators via Internet protocols. These two initiatives have one important common denominator: they allow the easy connection and interaction of all the components – sensors, actuators, controllers, production equipment, etc. – in a plant. It is necessary to fulfill two key engineering conditions to ensure efficient and effective execution of automation projects in this new, connected world with an ever increasing demand for shorter project execution times: − Development work in the relevant disciplines – eg., mechanical engineering, electronics and software – needs to be more parallel-ized. This requires, among other things, that the overall conceptual design covers all disciplines and that inter-dependencies between disciplines are described explicitly.
Virtual prototypes have to be available in all phases of the engineering process so that the required functionality can be tested as soon as it is developed. Also, due to the trend toward increasingly decentralized control functionality, it must be possible to test the distributed control logic design without real control hardware. The second point predicates the development of a virtual model of the process with all its actuators and sensors, or of the control system, or both. ABB Automation Builder helps do this. ABB Automation Builder combines the tools required for configuring, programming, debugging and maintaining automation projects under a common intuitive interface. Automation Builder can integrate AC500 programmable logic controllers, programmable drives, control panels and robots into one coherent automation solution. This includes data management as well as the exchange of data with the mechanical and electrical elements of the system.
By linking these data sets, virtual models for commissioning or prototype testing can be generated and processed faster. Automation Builder is capable of creating virtual machines and entire production lines to addresses the largest single cost element in most of today’s industrial automation projects: software.
ABB Automation Builder And Industry 4.0 – Integration.
ABB Automation Builder is available for download and in various editions suitable for different scales of a project. A convenient setup helps to configure the installation and handle license registration, maintenance and software updates. All relevant data from Automation Builder are transferred into a model of the system. Data from ABB’s offline robot programming and simulation tool, RobotStudio®, is also included. RobotStudio, which is included in the Automation Builder distribution, serves as a 3-D simulation engine where virtual controllers, HMI and drives meet the virtual mechanical prototypes and interact with each other and with the virtual world. To allow for scalability without needing ultrafast computers, the concept of virtual time is introduced. Using virtual as opposed to real time enables the execution speed of the simulation to be reduced when the performance limits are reached on the PC.
Industry 4.0 facilitates the implementation of Automation Builder in several ways. For example, it enables devices and tools from different vendors to communicate certain sets of standardized data. Further, the wider bandwidth of the Ethernet-based communication used by Industry 4.0 allows large quantities of data to be transferred easily. Where mutual-help organizations have sprung up in social networking communities for a whole range of other activities, they are expected to appear to assist those engaged in automating factories. The diversity of circumstances where information can be gathered and applied with ABB Automation Builder is nearly endless.