By Leslie Langnau, Managing Editor
Automation Builder is an engineering development tool-suite to help you integrate the build of control and motion systems based on PLCs, safety PLCs, robots, motion control, and related automation components.
Combining all of the tools required for configuring, programming, debugging and maintaining automation projects from a common intuitive interface, it addresses the largest single cost element of most of today’s industrial automation projects: software.
“Industrial automation projects are becoming more complex, and it’s leading to spiraling software development costs and project timescales,” said Soenke Kock of ABB. “Automation Builder delivers a means to simplify the control engineering task and standardize on a single development platform for all projects—regardless of scale.”
The tool-suite builds on the Control Builder Plus tool for programming PLCs, which delivers PLC development resources in the form of the CoDeSys IEC 61131-3 development environment and the Panel Builder tool for creating HMIs. These are complemented by tools for configuring and programming safety PLCs, the RobotStudio tool for simulating and programming industrial robot applications, and the Mint WorkBench tool and pre-built and tested libraries for controlling drives and other devices connected through fieldbuses, networks, or the web.
The tool-suite integrates all these capabilities into a single environment served by common data and an intuitive user interface. The data consistency eliminates the need to enter data multiple times, and avoids the programming effort and potential problems associated with exchanging data between the controller and all of the various devices in the automation system such as servomotor drives, robot arms, operator panels, and I/O. Third party devices can also be interfaced into the environment.
ABB estimates that the Automation Builder environment can shorten development times by up to a third for complex systems.