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More modular software could simplify validation

As smart machines become more prevalent, the process of validating the software becomes more complex. But by making the software modular, manufacturers are further easing the validation process. For instance, a packaging machine might have 20 servo axes, which all use basically the same subroutine. Instead of validating each axis performance individually, could you validate the subroutine once and be done? The manufacturer could hand over the validated modules and documentation, and the process would be complete.

"If I can create a modular code or subroutine and validate that block and then manage that block and reuse it within a certain element or platform, would I have to validate it again?" asks Dave Whittenton, Rockwell Automation's business development manager, life science. "There's a lot of philosophy about how to implement this. If you had a positioning cam subroutine, the OEM could provide the software code with a validation packet explaining how to validate that code. But is this a huge benefit, or just huge marketing? It's not really saving that much in the cost."

--By Brian Pelletier, Contributing Editor
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