A model-driven approach on object-oriented PLC programming for manufacturing systems with regard to usability

Martin Obermeier, Steven Braun, Birgit Vogel-Heuser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper presents the modular automation for reuse in manufacturing systems (modAT4rMS) approach to support the model-driven engineering (MDE) of object-oriented manufacturing automation software with regard to its usability and software modularity. With usability, we refer to the aspects' effectiveness, efficiency, and user acceptance as defined by ISO 9241-11. The modAT4rMS notations are based on selected features from the unified modeling language (UML) and the systems modeling language (SysML), and iteratively further developed by a series of empirical studies with industrial practitioners, as well as mechatronics trainees. With modAT4rMS, an MDE approach for programmable logic controller (PLC) programming was developed with the goal to facilitate modular object-oriented programming of PLC software by improving the representation of the relationships between the structure and behavior diagram types, and by reducing the level of abstraction in the structure model. modAT4rMS notations for PLC software structure and software behavior modeling are presented and illustrated with a modeling example using a modAT4rMS editor prototype. For the evaluation of the developed notations, the results from a study with 168 participants are presented, showing the benefits of this new approach in comparison with the classic procedural paradigm (IEC 61131-3) and the domain-specific UML profile (plcML) in regard to programming performance and usability aspects. Finally, the advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed, and an outlook for further development is given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6873317
Pages (from-to)790-800
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


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