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PLC Data Exchange in AutomationML AR APC Format

PLC data exchange is possible for different PLC manufacturers in AutomationML format (Automation Markup Language). This is a manufacturer-neutral XML-based data format. Different variants exist in the AutomationML format depending on the respective usage. The "Application Recommendation Automation Project Configuration" (short: "AR APC") variant is used for the PLC data exchange.

To this purpose the corresponding entries in the list of the possible formats are available to you in the dialogs for the export and import of PLC data - depending on the selected PLC configuration program. Certain aspects have to be taken into consideration for the export in the AutomationML format:

  • Each object is identified in AutomationML by a GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) that is unique worldwide. This GUID is assigned automatically during the export, in as far as no GUID was specified, and should normally not be changed manually. Exporting in AutomationML format is therefore ony possible from editable projects.
    An AutomationML GUID has the format "xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx", with "x" standing for one of the characters "0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f A B C D E F".
  • Own GUIDs are also assigned to the connection points of functions. Connection points are exported as ExternalInterface.
  • Accessory parts can be output optionally in the export file and have own GUIDs assigned to them. This is, for example, necessary in order to exchange accessories with the TIA Selection Tool. All parts that are entered at the positions 2 to 50 on the Parts tab in the property dialog of a main function are considered to be accessories. A PLC type designation must be entered for these parts in the parts management to allow export of the accessory parts. The GUID for accessory parts is assigned automatically during exporting and is saved in the AutomationML GUID (accessories) property.
    When an accessory part at the main function is deleted, the associated GUID is selected. The GUID is retained when an accessory part is edited (for example new part selection, device selection or changing of the sequence on the Parts tab).
  • You can use the compressing function of projects to remove AutomationML GUIDs that are no longer required from a project (for example in a copy of the project). To do this activate the check box AutomationML GUIDs in the dialog Settings: Compression in the hierarchy level Remove project data.
  • During the export all those devices are taken into consideration that have at least one bus port. This means that black boxes, motors and other devices can be exported in addition to PLC boxes.
  • During the export of Ethernet-based bus systems you can specify whether the port-specific interconnection of the bus ports is to be output in the export file. If you work with flexible cabling, you can deactivate the output of the port-specific interconnection in order to avoid re-working.
  • The names of the modules within a rack have to be unique for the export in AutomationML AR APC format. In this case the object description is not exported as the name, but rather the PLC card name property. If the PLC card name is empty, the object description is exported and - to make it unique - a consecutive item number is attached (Description_1, Description_2, etc.). If no object description is available, a unique PLC card name is generated. The PLC card names generated during the export are saved in the property PLC card name (ID 20437).
  • In addition to the function texts of the PLC connection points the function texts of the PLC boxes are also exported and imported (Function text (automatic) property). The function texts are exported and imported in all existing languages. The language set in the dialog Export PLC data or Import PLC data is the main language in the exchange file and is stored there for the respective PLC object as the value (Value). All the further languages as additional attributes.
  • During export in AutomationML AR APC format adjustable PLC connection points are converted into normal I/O connection points (depending on the setting for the type of signal in the connection point logic). During import such connection points are converted back into adjustable PLC connection points if a suitable part is found which has a function template with the function definition "PLC connection point, multi-function".
  • During the import of an AutomationML file, empty or missing DT elements do not overwrite filled DT elements in EPLAN.
  • When importing an AutomationML file, devices and PLC connection points that are available in the project but not in the import file, are tagged with the Marked for deletion property in EPLAN. This is the case for PLC connection points if the symbolic address in the import file is empty, but the Symbolic address (automatic) property is filled at the associated PLC connection point in EPLAN. The existing symbolic address remains. You can find and check these PLC objects via the check run 004029.
  • Free symbolic addresses (which are not assigned to any PLC connection point) can be exported and imported in AutomationML AR APC format via the PLC data exchange. After the import of an AutomationML file, the free symbolic addresses existing there are available in EPLAN and can be used from the assignment list.

Settings for different bus systems

The following table provides an overview of the properties relevant for the PLC data exchange in the AutomationML AR APC format. Which properties at the bus ports must be filled (x) or are optional (o) depends on the bus system being used.



Bus system


Profibus DP


Local-Bus: Extension

All other

Configuration project 20161 o*1 o*1 o*1 o*1 o*1
Bus system 20308 x x x x x
Plug designation 20406 x
Bus interface: Name 20447 x
Bus interface: Main bus port 20448 o
Physical network: Name 20413 o o o o
Physical network: Bus ID / item number 20311 o o o o
Physical network: Bus ID / item number 2 20386 o*2
Subnet mask 20446 o
Logical network: Name 20414 o o
Logical network: Bus port is master 20310 o o
Ignore missing bus ID 20412 o*3

*1: Only required if the value deviates from that of the associated PLC box.

*2: Can be filled if it is an ASI dual device.

*3: Can be activated to ignore bus ports that do not require a bus address during the execution of the 004037 error checking.

Non-identified fields are not required for the PLC data exchange. If the optional fields (o) are left empty, the import to the PLC configuration program is possible but post-processing is required.

See also