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From Christofer Dutz <>
Subject Interesting chat with Phoenix Contact
Date Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:33:23 GMT
Hi all,

I just wanted to report what we discussed in a meeting with someone from Phoenix Contact.

Currently they seem to be pushing their next generation of PLCs into the market … they are
called PLCNext (how creative 😉 )
But I really liked the concept. In general it’s a real-time capable Debian installation
and on the system you can run typical SPS programs.
However you can also run C++ written SPS programs. Both communicate with each other via some
shared memory. In this shared memory
The system … well … shares memory, but also the state of the IO elements.

It seems the PLCNext doesn’t support any proprietary protocols but a bunch of our usual

But one thing that I think is extremely interesting for us:

  *   They support C++
  *   They have a C++ library for directly accessing the shared memory
  *   They allow providing modules in their “Appstore”

So I had the idea, that we could write a module in C++, that uses their lib to interface with
the PLC shared memory, use a Thrift client to communicate with the outside world and implement
a “plc4x” protocol, that simply uses thrift to send over PLC4X API calls.

Then a user could simply install the module and have super performant and 100% PLC4X support
for all PLC4X features in the PLC.

I guess this concept could be applied to other vendors with a similar concept.

At least they will be sending us a demo Setup with a time-limited donation of Hard- and Software
which we’ll add to the IoT-Lab in Franfurt so you can all access it.

I really like the idea of implementing this Thrift (or any other) framework for native PLC4X
communication. Might help us get into PLCs we couldn’t otherwise or only with pain.


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