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22.11.2018 | Pressemitteilungen

Programming with Function Blocks

The CFC graphical programming language enables tasks to be implemented conveniently in the PLC Developer.

The CFC graphical programming language enables tasks to be implemented conveniently in the PLC Developer (Picture credits: Bachmann Electronic)

Up to now Bachmann controllers have still been partly programmed via the Codesys-based M-PLC user interface. However, working in M-PLC is not so efficient and user-friendly for meeting today's requirements. Bachmann is therefore in the process of gradually replacing this programming interface with the PLC Developer.

For some two years now, the IEC 61131-3 based Structured Text (ST) programming language has therefore been used for implementing complex programming tasks in the PLC Developer. The CFC/FBD (Continuous Function Charts/Function Block Diagram) graphical programming languages have now also been integrated. CFC has several strengths compared to the other programming languages: It is very intuitive, easy to program and understand; code can be reused very easily; complex application logic can be encapsulated well and the data flow analysis during debugging often brings important findings.

Tooltips show extensive, context-sensitive information directly in the function block diagram – a tremendous assistance to developers (Picture credits: Bachmann Electronic)

Bachmann placed particular importance to some features when developing the CFC Editor:

The tool can not only be operated easily with the mouse, an essential function for graphical programming languages, but can also be operated using the keyboard. This programming method has been shown to be more efficient in practice for implementing projects.

The PLC Developer is also provided with clearly designed tooltips: Context-sensitive information is provided about the data type, the initialization value, function block interfaces or the code documentation. It also features an intelligent context-sensitive autocompletion function for simplifying function calls, including predefined code blocks. The comprehensive code navigation system also allows easy handling of extensive applications.

The tool features a clearly designed debugging system in order to reach results quickly: 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 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.