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Certified Open PLC Programming Course


A 3-day manufacturer-independent Control System Programming course teaching PLCopen, the International Standard IEC 61131-3, and the free IDE software, CoDeSys Version 2.3..

The course is divided into:

Level 1 teaches Ladder Diagram (LD) programming After successfully completing the course projects, you will gain a proficiency certificate in LD programming. Level 1 is a pre-requisite to attending Level 2.

Level 2 covers all other programming languages defined in IEC61131-3, namely Function Block Diagram (FBD), Sequential Function Chart (SFC), Instruction List (IL) and Structured Text (ST). In addition, Continuous Function Chart (CFC) language is also covered in detail. The course explains why you have to consider of using multiple programming languages and teaches the skills required to develop a modern control system.

Level 1 uses simulated plants while Level 2 uses real rigs. These rigs include conveyor systems, a pick and place robot, a 3-storey lift system, a batch electro-chemical treatment plant and have been specially designed for teaching programming by MMU staff.  

Why is IEC61131-3 important?

In the past, different manufacturers of programmable controllers each had their own specific programming language. Although these were often quite similar, subtle differences made it difficult to migrate from one manufacturer’s equipment to another. For example, software developed for Siemens' systems is not portable to Rockwell's systems. The consequence was that users were locked into a particular supplier by training, experience and existing software.

IEC61131-3 is the modern way to program not just PLCs, but a wide range of programmable automation and control systems. Because the programming is now standardised, the teaching of programming can be made largely independent of the actual hardware being used. Furthermore, the techniques learned and the programs that are subsequently developed can be transferred between different manufacturer’s systems the skills gained are transferrable.


The Certified Open PLC Programming Course is fully accredited by PLCopen,, the international association promoting manufacturer-independent control system programming. The teaching adopts an applications-oriented approach throughout using realistic industrial examples for teaching and realistic rigs for practical exercises.

Why should I attend this course?

Until recently, the manufacturers of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) developed their own programming languages. This situation has in the past tended to lock users to a particular manufacturer because of existing software, maintenance and training, etc. The international standard, IEC 61131-3, initially published in 1993 and revised in 2003, provides the open standard for programming of a wide range of industrial control systems in a universal, vendor-independent way. The majority of PLC systems are now programmed using IEC 61131-3 languages.

Is IEC 61131 just another PLC programming language?

Definitely not! The standard supports modern-“software engineering”-methods that deliver improved programs, easier maintenance and fault finding, and reusable and transportable code. The result is a significant reduction in the number of programming errors and more reliable and maintainable control system software. Many end-users now require that their control systems to be programmed using IEC 61131-3.



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Samples of comments:

"A well structured and well paced course with excellent material."

"I was very happy with the outcome and feel confident developing PLC programs."