Industrial controls, and in particular, Programmable Logic controllers (PLC) currently form an important technological basis for the automation of industrial processes. Even in the age of industry 4.0 and industrial internet, it can be assumed that these controllers will continue to be required to a considerable extent for the production of tomorrow. However, the controllers must fulfill a range of additional requirements, resulting from the new production conditions. Thereby, the introduction of the service paradigm plays an important role. This paper presents the concept of smart industrial control services (SICS) as a new type of a PLC. As a distributed service-oriented control system in an IP network, a SICS controller can replace the traditional PLC for applications with uncritical timing in terms of Industry 4.0. The SICS are programmed as usual in industry, according to the standard IEC 61131-3, and run in a SICS runtime on a server or in a cloud. The term Smart Service is introduced and the uses of SICS as a smart service, including a clearing system for the creation of new business models based on control as a service, are described. As a result, two different SICS prototype implementations are described and two application examples from manufacturing automation, as well as the evaluation of the real-time features and the engineering of a SICS controller, are discussed in the paper.
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