frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Which use cases does AutomationML support?

Generally, we support the data exchange within the whole engineering process in different data exchange scenarios. However we start with those use cases most important for the AutomationML members, e.g.:

  • Transition from robot simulation system to robot specific programming system
  • Transition from mechanical design to functional (electrical and PLC) engineering
  • Data exchange between CAD systems
  • Transition from CAD system to documentation system

Which data exchange scenarios does AutomationML support?

AutomationML has the capability to support respectively enable the following data exchange scenarios. Nevertheless, the software tools involved in the scenariosmight need adaptionsto be able to participate in a particular data exchange scenario.

  • Simple Export of engineering data
  • Revision Supported Export of engineering data
  • Simple Import of engineering data
  • Revision SupportedImport of engineering data
  • Bidirectional data exchange
  • Data passing (and enriching) through tool (Import / Export)
  • Parallel Engineering including Split, Sync, Merge of data
  • Exchange of engineering data by using a AutomationML Warehouse

The core features, which enable these scenarios, are the ID concept, versioning information and changestate management.

Does AutomationML support the exchange of libraries?

Yes, the support of object oriented library concepts is a core feature of AutomationML and its related standards CAEX, COLLADA, and PLCopen XML.

Does AutomationML support versions, encryption, access rights, and data protection?

AutomationML is able to store version and history information. Tools are able to use standard XML methods for encryption, e.g. XML encryption or XML signatures.
Management of access rights is tool functionality, while AutomationML is a data exchange format.

What changes does AutomationML require in our engineering workflow?

AutomationML does not require changes in your workflow.AutomationML supports today’s workflows. Furthermore it simplifies regular synchronizations of parallel engineering steps. However, some tools might need further developments to benefit of all supported AutomationML functionalities.

How does AutomationML manage bulk data?

AutomationML supports distribution of data in separate XML files through reference mechanisms, e.g. geometry of objects can be stored in different XML files.

How is data stored?

Data is stored in any storage system that supports XML documents. Additionally, AutomationML defines the “AutomationML Container” to organize complete AutomationML projects consisting of multiple documents.

How is the architecture of AutomationML designed?

AutomationML combines well accepted standards for certain aspects of automation engineering under the top-level format CAEX. A short overview is given in AML in A Nutshell.

Which standards does AutomationML use?

AutomationML integrates the following standards:
  • CAEX as top-level format and for plant topology
  • COLLADA for geometry, kinematics, and motion planning
  • PLCopen XML SFCs and FBDs for behaviour and sequence descriptions
  • MathML for formulas

What is AutomationML’s technical approach?

  • We define a free and open, XML-based data format.
  • We do not want to reinvent the wheel, but use and enrich already existing, free and open, well established standards.
  • For the usage of standards, we apply three different general methodologies: direct application, referencing, and transformation.
  • One core effort is the development of a single top-level format that incorporates well accepted standards for important engineering aspects.


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