Using CODESYS within a modern HMI Solution

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Using CODESYS within a modern HMI Solution

CODESYS is a popular, widely supported, development environment for programming systems and application that conform to the broadly adopted standard IEC 61131-3.

The strength and target for CODESYS is to build applications for controlling mechanical processes and thereby to also integrate with many types of field buses. The development tool allows for the creation of programs that provide real, practical support to operators and its long history (launched in 1994) allows for system designers to draw on a huge repository of guides, prebuilt modules and engineering experience when building their software solution.

As with most things time passes and technology advances and now, while CODESYS remains a robust and powerful tool for control application development, it has limitations in modern user interaction. Smooth animations and attractive UIs are difficult to create with the tools available in CODESYS requiring far greater levels of engineering spend in order to develop graphical user interfaces that modern users expect and are comfortable with.

OEMs and system developers with existing CODESYS applications or with significant CODESYS experience are understandably hesitant to move to some of the newer tools and to invest the significant resources required in building completely new applications from the ground up.

Qt is an industry leading, open source, graphics framework that has established itself as one of the premium platforms for GUI design in smart devices, automotive dash boards, infotainment screens and increasingly, industrial HMI solutions.

With LinX Software Suite designers can combine CODESYS and Qt to achieve a great overall HMI solution with the rich fieldbus support and robust control application capabilities of CODESYS and access to the Qt editors which allows system designers to easily achieve scalable UIs, animation support and video integration. The heart of LinX is the Data Engine, a powerful internal signal manager and gateway to allow all applications running in the on-board computing solution and connected devices to exchange data in real-time. With LinX, engineers can integrate signals from the machine through the CODESYS module for greater and easier vehicle control.

By combining both approaches, it lets engineers get the best of both approaches without sacrifices. It also allows established systems to reuse existing applications but updating UI to reuse functionality but get the benefit of a modern scalable HMI solution. This can be crucial in convincing end users that a system has significant improvement over a previous model.

Platform adopters also get a clear upgrade path with the introduction of the LinX Software Suite and Qt to their development tool chain and the option to add additional elements to their application like HTML5 or Digitized Instrumentation.