LogicLab Soft PLC now available for LxWin

Axel – a leading vendor of software for industrial automation - has announced their LogicLab PLC now supports acontis’ sophisticated LxWin real-time platform for Windows.

“Axel already had supported Linux for LogicLab PLC due to the strong market demand for Linux software. As LxWin is based on standard Linux kernel with real-time patches, the porting of LogicLab to this platform could be done very smoothly and quickly. We are happy to be able, to provide our PLC solution for this sophisticated platform” says Mr. Bertocci, General Manager of AXEL s.r.l.

“If customers need a Windows based controller platform with the best possible real-time performance, easy installation and configuration for x86 multicore platforms, then LxWin from acontis is the preferred choice,” explains Stefan Zintgraf, General Manager at acontis technologies GmbH. “Our LxWin therefore fits perfectly to Axel’s LogicLab PLC when customers need to implement high end controllers including the need for a sophisticated PLC solution.”


LogicLab is AXEL’s key product: a complete development environment full compliant with the PLC 61131-3 standard, the most widespread standard for programming industrial controllers.
Thanks to its modularity and a very light runtime core package, it has already been successfully ported on any kind of device: with or without operating system, with architecture from 8 to 64 bits and with any kind of hardware resources.
By compiling the written code directly into machine language, LogicLab is extremely efficient and it is perfectly suited for handling time-critical application.

Main features:

  • All 5 languages of the IEC61131-3 standard supported with dedicated advanced editors.
  • It can be completely customized to grant the client a tailored product.
  • Allows to import/export already written code as libraries, in order to maximize the client know-how and to preserve the value of works already done.
  • Edge-cutting debugging instruments: watch window, breakpoints with step-by-step execution, triggers, oscilloscope, live debug mode.
  • Direct generation of machine language upon compilation: quick, light and efficient.
  • “Hot-swap” download feature: users can download the new code without halting the execution of the current one.
  • Embedded simulator: users can test their code on their PCs before truly download it on the physical board.
  • Complete integration with the other products of the Axel suite, including the development environment for HMI and the configurator for parameters and networks.
  • Easy-to-use interface, designed to be user-friendly.
  • LogicLab can be ported on any device: 8 or more bits architecture, with or without operating system, with any kind of system resources.
  • One tool for the whole range of products, with no need to buy additional software.
  • It features a complete EtherCAT stack and other most common fieldbuses.


Typically, Windows real-time extensions implement a proprietary real-time kernel (or proprietary real-time environment) in parallel to Windows, or sometimes even embedded into Windows. In these solutions any application that wants to be a real-time application with real-time behavior must run in this proprietary kernel, or in this proprietary real-time environment. This can be a challenge for developers as they must learn and use the proprietary environment for developing their real-time applications. Furthermore, they must rely on the features that have been decided to be implemented by the manufacturer of the real-time kernel or environment, which can sometimes be lacking or take time before things are fully available.

Over the past years, Linux has become the most popular real-time operating system (RTOS). As the open source movement continues to grow, Linux is continually updated and therefore offers broad hardware driver and software support as well as sophisticated development tools. By applying the real-time patch to the kernel (the so-called RT-preempt patch) it is possible to further add deterministic hard real-time behavior to the operating system, making Linux the obvious RTOS choice for leading manufacturers of industrial controllers like PLCs, Motion Controllers, CNC machines, and other products with challenging high real-time requirements.

acontis’ new Windows real-time extension, LxWin, works differently than a traditional Windows real-time extension and provides an interesting alternative that users and implementors of real-time applications should consider.

First, LxWin uses a more segregated approach for the real-time applications and the non-real-time Windows part. Rather than using a proprietary RTOS or real-time environment, LxWin embeds a Linux hard real-time kernel on top of a hypervisor environment. This hypervisor environment is key and ensures much better isolation from Windows compared to traditional real-time extensions.


LogicLab/LxWin is the ideal solution if customers need an open and future-proof Windows based real-time controller platform.

Customers would either need a proprietary real-time extension using a non-standard real-time operating system or, in case they already are using Linux for their controllers, two separate systems are required for the HMI and engineering system on the one hand and for the PLC on the other hand. Using LxWin, both cases can be accomplished using a single PC based controller hardware and the today’s standard real-time Linux operating system.

Besides the Soft PLC, when using LogicLab/LxWin, this provides a sophisticated platform to add additional software to the PLC functionality, either custom C/C++ based real-time software and/or third-party software.

Real-time Linux has become the by far most popular real-time platform worldwide. Thus, this is the perfect base for an open controller as there is plenty of third party software available, both open-source as well as commercial software, for example real-time Ethernet networks (EtherCAT, Profinet), motion software (e.g. CNC), communication middleware (e.g. OPC/UA, DDS, Corba) or sophisticated libraries and software frameworks (e.g. Boost, C++ STL).

LogicLab/LxWin - Architecture