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PLC Software design: 8 best practices and trends

Unveiling the Essence of PLC Software Design

PLC software design

Best practices and trends of PLC Programming

In the realm of industrial automation, PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) software design stands as a cornerstone, orchestrating the seamless operation of machinery and processes. As technology continues to evolve, understanding the best practices and emerging trends in PLC software design becomes paramount, especially in regions like Southern Africa where SPG Tech explores innovation that drives efficiency and productivity. 

Let’s look into the intricacies of PLC software design, uncovering the strategies that propel industries forward in this dynamic landscape.


Understanding PLC software design

PLC software serves as the brain behind automated systems, translating input signals into precise control actions. 

At its core, effective PLC software design hinges on meticulous planning, thorough programming, and rigorous testing. Here in Southern Africa, where industries span from manufacturing to mining, the demand for robust PLC solutions is ever-present. 

From optimizing production lines to enhancing safety protocols, the versatility of PLC software design knows no bounds.

Best practices in PLC Programming

Comprehensive planning

A well-defined scope and thorough understanding of system requirements lay the foundation for successful PLC software design. Collaborating closely with stakeholders ensures alignment with operational objectives and user needs.

Modular programming

Breaking down complex automation tasks into manageable modules enhances flexibility and scalability. Modular programming facilitates easier troubleshooting, maintenance, and future expansions, making it a prevalent practice in Southern African industries.

Adherence to standards

Compliance with industry standards and protocols is paramount in PLC software design. Adhering to established norms ensures interoperability, reliability, and compatibility with existing infrastructure, fostering seamless integration across diverse systems.

Documentation & version control

Maintaining comprehensive documentation and version control throughout the PLC software development lifecycle streamlines collaboration, promotes transparency, and mitigates risks associated with system updates and changes.

Continuous testing & validation

Rigorous testing at each stage of PLC software development is essential to identify and rectify errors early on. Utilizing simulation tools and conducting real-world testing scenarios validate the performance and reliability of the designed software.

Emerging trends in PLC software design

Integration with IIoT

The integration of PLC systems with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables real-time data exchange and remote monitoring capabilities, unlocking new possibilities for predictive maintenance and performance optimization.

Edge computing

Embracing edge computing technology decentralizes data processing, minimizing latency and enhancing responsiveness in PLC-controlled systems. Edge computing empowers Southern African industries to leverage automation in remote and resource-constrained environments.

AI & machine learning

Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms into PLC software enables intelligent decision-making and adaptive control strategies. In Southern Africa, where operational efficiency is paramount, AI-driven PLC solutions offer unprecedented levels of optimization and autonomy.


In Southern Africa’s dynamic industrial landscape, the evolution of PLC software design continues to shape the future of automation. 

By embracing best practices and staying abreast of emerging trends, industries can harness the full potential of PLC technology to drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation. 

As experts in electrical instrumentation, SPG Tech remains committed to delivering cutting-edge PLC solutions tailored to the unique needs of Southern African industries, empowering businesses to thrive in an increasingly competitive global market.

SPG Tech strives to offer the safest, simplest, and most effective solution available. Email or call +27 11 974 0420 for your customized solution.
SPG Tech Animal Feed Chemical Industry conveyor system Food Industry Industrial Automation Instrumentation Calibration manufacturing manufacturing Milling Mining and Mineral Processing Packaging Petrochemical Renewable Energy Sensor technology Smart Sensors Smart Technology Steel Industry Test Bench

The dynamic union of SCADA systems evolution

The SCADA Timeline: The dynamic unions of SCADA systems evolution and SPG Tech solutions

SCADA Systems


In today’s rapidly evolving industrial landscape, the integration of cutting-edge SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems with innovative solutions from SPG Tech marks a paradigm shift in plant management and automation. 

This article explores how the evolution of SCADA technology and the expertise of SPG Tech synergize to deliver unparalleled efficiency, reliability, and adaptability to industrial operations.

1960s : Genesis of SCADA Systems

The initial phase of SCADA systems emerged as a response to the need for centralized control and monitoring. Basic telemetry systems were employed to collect data from remote locations and transmit it to a central control point. These early systems, though limited in functionality, laid the groundwork for the development of more advanced SCADA solutions.

1970s : The Proliferation Phase

The 1970s witnessed a surge in the adoption of SCADA systems across various industries. This proliferation was driven by advancements in computer technologies, enabling more sophisticated data acquisition and control capabilities. The increased use of computers allowed for the automation of repetitive tasks and the processing of larger volumes of data.

1980s : HMI Revolution

The 1980s marked a pivotal shift with the introduction of Human-Machine Interface (HMI). This revolutionized the way operators interacted with SCADA systems. Graphical displays replaced text-based interfaces, providing a visual representation of industrial processes. This change significantly improved the operators’ ability to monitor and control complex systems.

1990s : Communication Breakthroughs

In the 1990s, SCADA systems embraced communication breakthroughs. Standard protocols like TCP/IP became widely adopted, facilitating interoperability. Moreover, the integration of radio and satellite communication expanded the reach of SCADA networks, enabling real-time data transmission over longer distances

20th Century: Integration of PLCs and DCS

The late 20th century saw the integration of SCADA with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Distributed Control Systems (DCS). This convergence brought a more comprehensive approach to industrial automation. PLCs enhanced the control capabilities, while SCADA provided a centralized platform for monitoring and data acquisition.

The Rise of Web-Based SCADA

As the internet became prevalent, SCADA systems evolved to be web-based. This allowed for remote monitoring and control, a significant advancement in enhancing operational flexibility. Operators could access and manage SCADA systems from different locations, contributing to more efficient and responsive industrial processes.

Early 2000s

In the early 2000s, the industry saw a shift toward open-source SCADA solutions and the adoption of standardized protocols. This move aimed to address issues of vendor lock-in and enhance interoperability. Open-source SCADA solutions provided greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness, fostering innovation and collaboration

SCADA in the Age of Industry 4.0

In the present era, SCADA systems are integral to Industry 4.0. The incorporation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has elevated SCADA to new heights. The marriage of SCADA with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics has transformed it into a predictive and proactive tool for industrial processes.

Cybersecurity Challenges

With increased connectivity, the focus on cybersecurity intensified. Modern SCADA systems prioritize robust security protocols to safeguard critical infrastructure from cyber threats. This phase emphasizes the importance of secure-by design principles to protect against potential vulnerabilities and cyber attacks.

Future Horizons

Looking ahead, the future of SCADA systems is characterized by ongoing advancements. Edge computing, real-time analytics, and enhanced AI integration will redefine how industries monitor, control, and optimize their processes. The focus will be on creating more resilient, adaptive, and intelligent SCADA systems to meet the evolving demands of modern industrial landscapes

SPG Tech: The difference in SCADA systems

As SCADA systems continue to advance, SPG Tech stands at the forefront, leveraging these technological marvels to revolutionize industrial automation. Through seamless integration, customization, and relentless innovation, SPG Tech ensures that each client receives tailor-made solutions that optimize plant performance, enhance productivity, and drive sustainable growth. With the perfect marriage of SCADA evolution and SPG Tech expertise, industries can confidently navigate the complexities of modern manufacturing and propel towards a future of unparalleled success.

SPG Tech strives to offer the safest, simplest, and most effective solution available. Email or call +27 11 974 0420 for your customized solution.
SPG Tech manufacturing manufacturing

Smarter Manufacturing: the powerful top 5 benefits

Smarter Manufacturing Through Automation: Enhancing Efficiency, Productivity, and Quality

smarter manufacturing

In recent years, the manufacturing industry has experienced a significant transformation in its processes and operations due to the rapid development and adoption of advanced automation technologies. Automation has revolutionized the traditional manufacturing processes by streamlining production, improving efficiency, and enhancing product quality.

Smarter manufacturing through automation is the key to staying competitive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. By automating repetitive and labor-intensive tasks, manufacturers can improve their overall productivity, reduce costs, and increase output capacity. In this article, we will explore the benefits of smarter manufacturing through automation and how it is transforming the manufacturing industry.

What is Smarter Manufacturing Through Automation?

Smarter manufacturing through automation refers to the integration of advanced technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) into the manufacturing process. The aim is to create a more efficient, agile, and flexible production process that can adapt to changing market demands quickly.

Benefits of Smarter Manufacturing Through Automation

  1. Improved Efficiency: Automation eliminates the need for manual labor and minimizes human error, resulting in improved efficiency in the production process. By automating repetitive tasks such as material handling, quality control, and assembly, manufacturers can increase output capacity and reduce lead times.

  2. Enhanced Productivity: Automation can significantly enhance productivity by reducing downtime and increasing machine uptime. With real-time data analytics, manufacturers can monitor and optimize production processes, reduce waste, and identify and resolve production bottlenecks quickly.

  3. Cost Savings: Smarter manufacturing through automation can significantly reduce production costs by eliminating the need for manual labor and minimizing waste. By optimizing production processes and reducing errors, manufacturers can also save money on rework and quality control measures.

  4. Improved Quality: Automation ensures consistent quality by minimizing human error and providing accurate and reliable data. With automated quality control measures, manufacturers can quickly identify and resolve quality issues, resulting in improved product quality and customer satisfaction.

  5. Flexibility: Automation enables manufacturers to adapt quickly to changing market demands and production requirements. With the ability to reprogram robots and adjust production lines on the fly, manufacturers can quickly pivot and respond to market changes, reducing the risk of inventory buildup and product obsolescence.

Transforming the Manufacturing Industry

Smarter manufacturing through automation is transforming the manufacturing industry by providing a more efficient, agile, and flexible production process that can adapt to changing market demands quickly. The adoption of advanced technologies such as robotics, AI, and IoT is enabling manufacturers to optimize production processes, reduce costs, and enhance product quality.

To remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment, manufacturers must embrace automation and invest in advanced technologies that can enhance their production processes. By leveraging the power of automation, manufacturers can transform their operations, increase efficiency, and improve product quality, leading to greater customer satisfaction and increased profitability.


In conclusion, SPG Tech is a leading provider of automation solutions, driving smarter manufacturing through automation. With their expertise in advanced automation technologies, including robotics, AI, and IoT, they are transforming the manufacturing industry by streamlining production processes, improving efficiency, and enhancing product quality.

By partnering with SPG Tech, manufacturers can leverage the benefits of automation and data analytics to optimize their production processes continually. SPG Tech’s customized automation solutions enable manufacturers to reduce costs, increase productivity, and remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment.

The future of manufacturing lies in automation, and SPG Tech is at the forefront of this transformation. By investing in automation technologies and leveraging the power of data analytics, manufacturers can achieve a more efficient, agile, and flexible production process that can adapt quickly to changing market demands. With SPG Tech’s expertise, manufacturers can stay ahead of the competition and drive smarter manufacturing through automation.

SPG Tech strives to offer the safest, simplest, and most affordable manufacturing solution available. Email or call +27 11 974 0420 for your packaging solutions

Test Bench

SPG Test Bench

SPG Tech: Experts in the test Bench

Test bench

The primary objective of a test bench is to simulate the working condition of testing equipment. To achieve the desired conditions, optimum mechanical and hydraulic design is required alongside PLC operating electric control system and SCADA monitoring and data capturing software . Test benches verify theories, devices and technologies with rigor, transparency and as many times as deemed necessary.

SPG Tech provides comprehensive design of the various test benches that can be utilized within different industry sectors.

Automating tests is used to:

  • Reduce repetitive manual tasks – therefore saving time
  • Limit Errors
  • Increase test coverage
  • Reduce validation cycle
  • Increase productivity
  • Save money
  • All instruments on the test bench are calibrated and located in one place
  • Beneficial unit to have for staff training purposes
  • Improves facility cleanliness, organisation, and presentation.
  • Allows for accountability of test equipment by being mounted in the panel
  • Assurance of a quality product – when a product is tested in real time, there is a guarantee of increased product quality

SPG Tech Test Benches

SPG Tech provides products and solutions perfectly meeting the needs of its customers by providing the highest quality user experience and high-quality test benches. Experts in the automation field by offering fully customized hydraulic test benches; specialising in cylinder, hydraulic motor pump, and spindle-end drive test benches, as well as automatic transmission test benches.

SPG Tech designs, manufactures control panels, test internally using PLC and SCADA allowing complete control of the solution offerings.

Each test bench is unique to correspond as closely as possible to the requirements of the customer’s product, industry and expected performance. The simplicity of readability of the test reports, test bench ergonomics, protection of operators and repeatability of tests are the criteria of significant importance in the development of the test benches.

SCADA Software

SCADA is the system that allows operators to interact with test benches with ease. With fully automated control of test operations and possibility to monitor the machine performance through real-time calculated indicators and analyze the results obtained.

SCADA provides:

  • Simple configuration
  • Accuracy of measurement & analysis
  • Traceability of operations
  • Access management

What SPG offers

  • Analysis of requirements and standards
  • Manufactured control panels
  • PLC & SCADA software
  • Definition of specifications
  • Complete, efficient and innovative technical solution
  • On-site installation, commissioning and user-training
  • Maintenance and calibration services for your equipment

Animal Feed Milling SPG Tech

Feed Mill Automation


Food, food production and food packaging has been and always will be an integral part of our economic and social structure. ‘Animal feeds play a leading role in global food industry; enabling economic production of products of animal origin throughout the world…Commercial feed manufacturing generates estimated annual turnover and sales value equivalent to US$ 85 Billion[i].’  In South Africa, the national gross turnover is US$ 2.8 Billion per annum[ii]. The most efficient way to ensure that feed mills run efficiently and maximise the market potential is to automate the plants; securing a minimum margin of error in the entire processing and packaging procedure. Ultimately, the goals of feed mill automation are;

·          Solve potential and current running problems

·          Minimise risk

·          Reduce costs

·          Maximise profit margins

The following article will highlight ways in which the automation of feed mills drives return on investment.

5 benefits of automating a feed mill

1.       Reducing human error & increase level of safety.

Automation creates a consistent system in task completion which eliminates that could be better utilized in more important tasks rather than unnecessary and dangerous manual operations. It also ‘develop(s) safe work practices and engineering controls which could be used to reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace and to train workers in identification and awareness of hazards and their controls[iii]’. For example, should a man made error or injury occur that result in temporary closure of a feed mill that produces 2 000 tonnes p/w, for every day that the plant is down the loss of production id 285.7 tonnes per day – a high price to pay for something that could have been eliminated by predictive processes and controls.

2.       Optimization in process with enhanced production.

Manual processes are extremely time-consuming and some ways in which time can be saved is through automatic mixing, formulating and distribution. Other processes that could be controlled and accurately preformed in a time-saving manner include; raw material intake, dosing, grinding & mixing, pellet system, and packaging processes. Software automation is the most important element which increases efficiency of production made without human interaction and ensuring stabilization of the required processes whilst being carefully programmed to be delivered in the most time-efficient frame.

3.       Improve accuracy with programmatic solutions and reduction of batch errors.

Batching is one of the most common areas for feed mill automation and often offers the highest initial profitability. Automation of batching and mixing processes substantially reduces error and variation. And with an easily re-programmable controller, you can adjust recipes without significant downtime and reduction of waste, significantly reducing expenses. The correct automation solution can solve the problem of precision and consistency by scale weighing ingredients quickly and to correct amounts ensuring automatic distribution according to pre-programmed recipes.


4.       Monitoring and support through maintenance.

To operate efficiently it is crucial to be able to gather and interpret data through availability of a process optimization tool. Preventative maintenance is a software measure that monitors critical parts in the process control permanently and remotely therefore further reducing accidental cost in the long run. Due to remote access control and support, the maintenance solutions and upgrades required are easily provided and do not result in unnecessary downtime.

5.       Adherence to the highest level of quality control.

With exact-measuring and monitoring of recipes, automation prevents adulteration and/or contamination by reducing hand-add opportunities. This results in the elimination of a variety of costs and risks including:

·         Product and ingredient losses

·         Lawsuits

·         Liability Insurance

·         Reputational Damage

·         Loss of Sales


Automation consists of both hardware and software components and these components often depend on the needs of the clients. One of SPG Tech’s core values is to fully engage with the individual clients to create a hardware and software package that drives the business success of the client’s project. The hardware and software details vary from client to client, however SPG Tech’s and what is required is outlined below in what is needed to create the ultimate feed mill automation solution.


·         PLC: Being able to track system equipment in a fast, efficient manner is imperative in process automation and SPG Tech has expertise in most leading brands.

·         PC: Used in order to operate required software

·         HMI: A dashboard that is used to connect a person to the interface that provides a user-friendly interface to provide a visual overview of the automated system.

·         Frequency Inverter: A way in which to control equipments sensitively.

·         Weighing indications: Used to transmit weight information to the automation.

·         Energy analyzer: Used to report energy consumption in the process and transmit energy consumption.


·         SCADA: Control and monitoring of processes and can be linked to Microsoft Office for reports with remote access to the plant.

[i] good practices for food industry, 2010

[ii], AFMA, 2020