4DIAC - Open Source for Distributed Industrial Automation
The general aim of the 4DIAC initiative is to provide an open, free, IEC 61499 standard compliant automation and control environment. The following open source projects are in the focus of the 4DIAC initiative:
- FORTE (4DIAC-RTE): Modular IEC 61499 compliant Runtime Environment for small embedded devices (16/32 Bit), implemented in C++
- 4DIAC-IDE: Modular IEC 61499 compliant Integrated Engineering Environment based on the Eclipse open tool framework
- 4DIAC-LIB: Library of function blocks usable for different kinds of control applications
- 4DIAC-Systems: A set of example projects
Furthermore this open source implementation should serve as discussion basis for the further development of the IEC 61499 standard.
Motivation / Background
The domain of automation industry is characterised by a highly proprietary environment. Different platforms and different tools are in use. In most cases there is no interoperability between different solutions of different vendors. The standard IEC 61131-3 provides a very small basis for common modelling of control programs, but platforms and tools are not able to interoperate. Several steps to improve this situation have been undertaken by the PLCopen. The new standard IEC 61499 has even more ambitious objectives. These can be described by the three issues portability, configurability, and interoperability:
- Portability: the ability of software tools to accept and correctly interpret library elements produced by other software tools.
- Configurability: the ability of devices and their software components to be configured (selected, assigned locations, interconnected and parameterized) by multiple software tools.
- Interoperability: the ability of devices from different vendors operating together to perform the functions specified by one or more distributed applications.
A look at the current status of the developments in the domain of the IEC 61499 standard and its related implementations show, that these targets are not fully achieved so far. As a conclusion a common and public available basis for the further evloution and extension of the IEC 61499 standard is needed to achieve the above mentioned challenging objectives.