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PLCopen – coding guidelines released for comments

29 July 2015

In 2013 a PLCopen working group started to create guidelines on the software construction process with a focus on IEC 61131-3 and the PLCopen extensions. The goal is to provide the definition of rules, coding patterns and guidance on how to use them in industrial automation.

Although coding guidelines for many programming languages already exist, these are nearly non-existent for the important area of industrial control, e.g. IEC 61131-3 and its PLCopen extensions. However, the software in industrial environments is becoming more important, software projects are getting larger and the costs of errors increase. Today Software absorbs half of the initial project costs and between 40 to 80% deals with maintenance over the life cycle costs of the software.

Large automation companies have their own rules but many mid-size companies or newcomers are interested in a helping hand as provided by these PLCopen guidelines. The rules will be very useful to train users and can be a good basis for universities to more efficiently teach IEC 6113-3 programming.

The PLCopen working group has now published a version of the coding guidelines for comments and all interested parties are invited to give feedback on this document before 23rd October. The document can be downloaded from the website -

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