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09.06.2020 | Neuigkeiten

Programming with Function Blocks

CFC editor for PLC Developer

Many IEC 61131 programmers are already working on the modern PLC Developer or are just changing over to it. The implementation of the new CFC editor in the PLC Developer enabled another significant step towards more efficient and fully integrated PLC programming.

For a good two years, it has already been possible to implement the multi-layered task definitions of programming in the PLC Developer by using the IEC 61131-3 Structured Text (ST) programming language. The CFC/FBD (Continuous Function Charts/Function Block Diagram) graphical programming languages have now also been integrated. Compared to the textual programming  languages, CFC has some additional benefits: It is very intuitive, easy to program and understand; code can be reused effectively; complex application logic can be easily encapsulated and the data flow analysis often provides some important information for debugging.

The new editor can not only be operated easily via the mouse – a standard feature of graphical programming languages – but also via the keyboard. The PLC Developer is also provided with clearly designed tooltips, i.e. context-sensitive information such as data type, initialization value, function block interface or the code documentation. It also features a smart, context-sensitive autocomplete function for easy function call entry, including predefined code blocks.

The seamless code navigation allows extensive applications to be handled easily. This also includes a clearly designed debugging function: The actual values are shown directly in the diagram; Boolean values are highlighted according to their value with a user-defined coloring. It also features a breakpoints management function for repeatable debug sessions and a debug framework for processing program sections in stages.

The ability to generate a webMI visualization based on the program logic, including the display of online values directly from the programmed diagram, is a useful feature. This enables rapid diagnostics to be carried out in the field with the appropriate project version without any additional engineering tool – a tremendous assistance to service technicians. The PLC Developer is a central element of the SolutionCenter – the optimum tool for solving automation tasks with Bachmann technology.

Product manager, Bachmann electronic

What is CFC?
CFC stands for Continuous Function Chart and is a type of graphical programming. This interconnects function blocks with a defined interface in the form of input and output pins. The sequence program is formed from the explicit processing order and conditional jumps to jump labels.

Why are graphical programming languages still important?

Compared to textual languages, programming is very easy and manageable. This even enables users without an extensive knowledge of programming to implement or evaluate applications. Complex algorithms can be encapsulated in a function block and called.

Are users restricted to one programming language?
No, users can combine languages as required. Besides IEC 61131-3, it is also possible to incorporate C/C++ or Simulink® functions in a PLC application.


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