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Enhancing Industrial Automation with PLCopen’s Software Quality Metrics

4 minutes read

Written by: Bugra Yildiz

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PLCopen publishes guidelines on Software Quality Metrics the industrial automation industry can utilize to support various stakeholders in their daily software development activities. Application developers can use these guidelines to make the right design decisions and keep their code quality high; decision makers, such as project managers, can use these guidelines and related metrics to have objective data-driven insights into their systems.  

Industrial automation has transformed the landscape of manufacturing and infrastructure control by incorporating advanced technologies and software. At the forefront of this evolution is PLCopen, a global association dedicated to enhancing efficiency in industrial automation. 

A Beacon in Industrial Automation Software 

PLCopen, founded in 1992 and headquartered in The Netherlands, stands as a leading independent organization shaping the future of industrial automation software. With supporting offices in the USA, Japan, and China, PLCopen focuses on providing users with the tools and guidelines needed for faster application development and reduced life cycle costs. The association’s motto, “for efficiency in automation,” perfectly aligns with its mission to advance the field. 

A Strategic Engagement 

Software Improvement Group (SIG) is proud to be a member of PLCopen, reinforcing its commitment to getting software right for a healthier digital world. The values of “Inspiring” and “Independent” from SIG directly correlate with the efforts to contribute to the software community in the industrial automation domain. Recently, we announced our contribution to the latest ‘Guideline on Software Quality Metrics’ to underscore the critical role of software in industrial automation systems and to provide a metric-based approach that improves efficiency and lowers maintenance costs.

Understanding the “Guideline on Software Quality Metrics” 

The recently released “Guideline on Software Quality Metrics” by PLCopen serves as a crucial resource for stakeholders in industrial automation. This document aims to support metric-based quality assessment of PLC software, providing valuable insights and opportunities for improvement throughout the development lifecycle. Key aspects of the guideline include: 

  1. Common Use Cases: Exploring how software quality metrics can be seamlessly incorporated into various stages of software development workflows.
  2. Metric Categorization: A comprehensive set of metrics categorized based on their relevance to software quality aspects, including Maintainability, Reusability, Testability, Efficiency, and Reliability.
  3. Recommendations: Practical recommendations on leveraging metrics in Industrial PLC software development, aligning with industry best practices.

Integrating Fact-Based Insights 

The PLCopen guideline holds particular importance for SIG due to its alignment with the certified SIG maintainability model based on ISO 25010. This model offers a fact-based insight into software quality, comprising eight core metrics that provide a comprehensive view from architecture to low-level code details. The PLCopen guideline complements this approach by offering a list of metrics specifically tailored to the industrial automation software domain.

High-Quality PLC Code increases your competitive advantage 

Material Handling Systems (MHS), a global system integrator specialized in intra-logistic solutions, R&D Manager explained in order, “to scale our services around the globe, we needed to improve our software. Developing and testing the software that runs in the PLC took too much time. Decreasing our lead-time for our installations makes it possible to deliver more quickly to our clients and meet the fast-changing requirements.” 

MHS proceeded to take an objective approach to measuring the health of their software to improve software quality. This saved MHS at least 2000 hours of work and foster a culture of quality within the development teams that increased scalability and helped resolve issues faster, that resulted in a shorter delivery time overall. 

“With the help of SIG, we brought the software quality to the next level which helps us to deliver our installations faster.” 
R&D Project Manager at MHS 

Measure your software 

In the dynamic realm of industrial automation, the collaboration between PLCopen and Software Improvement Group paves the way for better software quality across the entire industrial automation industry. The “Guideline on Software Quality Metrics” serves as a beacon, guiding developers and stakeholders toward more efficient and reliable PLC software development. As technology continues to advance, the commitment of organizations like PLCopen and SIG ensures that the industrial automation landscape remains at the forefront of innovation. 

As a developer, manage the quality and security of software in your pipeline and build better code using Sigrid. 


Bugra Yildiz

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