To properly deal with the increasing complexity of industrial distributed and agile manufacturing control systems, the use of methods and tools that support the designer in the definition, implementation and verification of intelligent logic control software is more and more necessary. Nowadays, many different software tools are available to face the rapid prototyping and closed loop simulation based verification of an automation system control software. The possibility to validate the control strategies of an automation system for industrial plant during its design phases is very advantageous. In fact the control system validation on plant site is very expensive, both for the high man power costs and for the long time required to implement and test the software code implemented in the control system devices. Scope of this paper is to present the hardware/software infrastructure designed to interface an industrial PLC to a laboratory process simulator and to a real small scale plant, in order to validate the industrial PLC software control code before the real plant commissioning phase. In particular the PLC, communicating with its remote input/output terminal boards via Profibus, is firstly connected to the process simulator for a roughly control algorithm validation, secondly it is interfaced to a small scale plant so to deeply test the PLC logic control solution.

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