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According to our experience and customer feedback, with Epec MultiTool an application developer can save up to 90 % of the time required for the initial configuration phase of the control system software development. This leads to considerable cost saving, improves the software quality and most importantly, optimizes the time-to-market for machine manufacturers.

MultiTool is an Epec developed configuration software running in developer’s windows PC. MultiTool’s intuitive graphical user interface helps control system application developers to avoid slow and error prone phase in control system configuration, such as communication protocol and I/O interface configurations. MultiTool helps the application developer to concentrate on the most important thing for the machine manufacturer; the safe and efficient operation of the machine.

MultiTool has been available over 10 years. During this time, we have gained a lot of customer feedback and experience about the time saved in control system application development.

An average control system application development consists of the following configuration and initialization tasks before the actual operation logic programming of the machine can start:

    • CANopen communication between control units
    • J1939 communication between the engine ECU and the control unit
    • Configuration of the CANopen sensors by the master control unit
    • CANopen communication between CANopen sensors and the master unit
    • Defining the control system parameters in to Object Dictionary, typically there are hundreds in a machine
    • I/O interface configuration for different control units
    • CAN network monitoring and control unit’s internal diagnostics (such as supply voltage and internal temperature monitoring)
    • Event/Alarm logging system initialization between the display unit and control units
    • CAN database setup for control system testing
    • Configuration of the interface between control system and IoT cloud solution (OT-IT interface)
    • Firewall and data security configurations

Using MultiTool’s innovative features, implementing these tasks is much easier and takes considerably less time when compared to manual programming. MultiTool creates a CODESYS code template based on user configurations in MultiTool and developer can implement the actual customer application logic on top of the code template.  Since the code template is automatically generated, it helps to avoid a lot of human errors and shortens the time needed for testing. Additionally, MultiTool and the code template works as an abstraction layer hiding the hardware specific low level interfaces from the developer and helps to separate the application logic from the hardware making it easier to change the hardware during the machine life cycle if necessary, for example, in hardware end-of-life situations.

Marko Takkula

Marko Takkula

Technical Product Manager