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Schneider Electric Launches Universal Automation Packs to Foster Innovation


May 18, 2022

Schneider Electric has announced the launch of their Universal Automation Discovery Packs program in the U.S., designed to give innovators the opportunity to explore the idea of universal automation. Through the program, OEMs, system integrators, end users, distributors, academics and others can receive a free license to explore this next-generation automation system for non-commercial purposes.

Universal automation is technology based on the IEC61499 standard for interoperability that decouples hardware and software by addressing single-vendor lock-in, Schneider said. By having the opportunity to explore the technology before leveraging it for commercial projects, users can better understand how the platform can support their organizational goals and improve operational efficiency, the company added.

“Today’s industry is changing faster than ever before, requiring both new solutions that offer greater flexibility and higher productivity, and a skilled workforce familiar with those solutions able to implement them,” said Kaishi Zhang, global director of product management at Schneider Electric. “Through this program, we are fostering digital innovation and creativity in the next wave of the industrial automation workforce by providing access to the latest universal automation platform and tools to get them started, encouraging them to take the next step in driving the industry of the future forward.”

The Universal Automation Discovery Packs are for non-commercial use, letting users test the interoperability and portability of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Automation Expert system with compatible third-party hardware. Available on Microsoft- and Linux-based machines, the automation software components are based on IEC61499, an industry standard that defines high-level system design language for distributed Industrial Control Systems (ICS). Schneider said adoption of an IEC61499-based automation layer across vendors has unlimited potential for modernization across industries.

The EcoStruxure Automation Expert software is vendor-agnostic, and can provide reusability, scalability and flexibility for automation systems. Through the implementation of a common distributed control runtime across hardware and software platforms, the software represents a new approach to designing, building, operating and maintaining industrial automation systems, Schneider said.

Interested users can receive the Universal Automation Discovery Packs as one free engineering license and an unlimited number of runtime licenses valid for 12 months, with no purchase required (valid for U.S. customers only). For more details, visit this website, or click here to sign up.

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