Skip to Main Content
This year marks the 16th anniversary of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 1131-3 (now IEC 61131-3), currently one of the most important standards in industrial automation. Four years before its release, it has been decided that it will define a further standard for programming industrial control systems, the IEC 61499 standard. One reason for this decision has been the remarkable, and still current study, of the Iacocca Institute [ 1 ]. This study identified: portability-software tools can accept and correctly interpret software components and system configurations produced by other software tools; interoperability-embedded devices can operate together to perform the functions needed for distributed applications; configurability-any device and its software components can be configured by software tools from multiple vendors; reconfiguration-the ability to adapt control hardware and software during operation; distribution-the ability to distribute software components onto different hardware devices, as requirements demanded from future industrial process measurement and control systems (IPMCS) by the automation industry.