Intelligent Data Centres Issue 35 | Page 29



chneider Electric , a

S leader in the Digital Transformation of energy management and automation , has joined other industrial leaders and pioneers to form UniversalAutomation . org ( UAO ), an independent , not-for-profit association managing the reference implementation of a shared source runtime . For the first time , IT and OT software vendors , industrial end-users , OEMs and academics will share a common automation software layer across their automation technology – regardless of brand .

UniversalAutomation . org will drive the development of a vendor-agnostic ecosystem of portable and interoperable ‘ plug and produce ’ software that can run with almost any hardware .
By decoupling software and hardware , sharing a reference runtime implementation of the IEC 61499 standard and merging the Information Technology ( IT ) and Operational Technology ( OT ) worlds , the organisation seeks to create an entirely new category of industrial automation and unleash the full potential of Industry 4.0 .
“ UniversalAutomation . org is the beginning of new era for industrial automation ,” said Dr Barbara Frei , Executive Vice President Industrial Automation at Schneider Electric .
“ Current architectures have done a great job of advancing industry to where we are now , but to reach nextgeneration sustainability , innovation and agility , we must embrace portable and interoperable software .
“ Doing so requires a reimagining of our current systems and processes , and collaboration on a new scale , which the UniversalAutomation . org members have agreed to do .”
Organisations involved in UniversalAutomation . org include : Aalto University , Advantech , Asus , Belden , Cargill , eaw Relaistechnik GmbH , ESA , ETP , Flexbridge , Georgia-Pacific , GR3N , Hirschmann , HTW Berlin , Intel , Jetter , Johannes Kepler University Linz , Kongsberg Maritime , Luleå Technological University , Lumberg Automation , Phoenix Contact , ProSoft , R . Stahl , Shell , VP Process , Wilo , Wood and Yokogawa . Others are expected to join soon , with the organisation actively recruiting new members .
Members will work together to develop and adopt the next generation of universal automation solutions by collectively incrementing the runtime following shared source principles .
Members will have access and the ability to shape the next generation of automation . All entities looking to help advance industrial automation are encouraged to join .
“ Industrial operations are undergoing a total transformation ,” said John Conway , President of UniversalAutomation . org . “ As the IT sector has proven , advances in Machine Learning , Augmented Reality , real-time analytics and the IoT hold great promise for step change advancements in performance , agility and sustainability .
“ However , within industry , this promise is being held back by closed and proprietary automation platforms that restrict widespread adoption , hamper innovation , are challenging to integrate with third-party components , and are expensive to upgrade and maintain . Using a shared runtime changes all that .”
Greg Boucaud , Chief Marketing Officer of UniversalAutomation . Org , said : “ UniversalAutomation . org is hitting the reset button on automation technology . Using the IEC 61499 standard for distributed systems , we can create a new , open industrial environment that will lead to a more sustainable , efficient future . UniversalAutomation . org will remove the barriers to innovation in automation by decoupling hardware and software and providing end-users with the freedom they have been asking for – to easily integrate different technologies regardless of where they came from and fully optimise their automation systems .” www . intelligentdatacentres . com