GRASS improves PLC management with Software Defined Automation Version Control




Furniture movement system manufacturer GRASS GmbH’s struggles to manage their PLC software code led to inefficiency, lost productivity, risk, and higher costs. Software Defined Automation (SDA) lets them quickly identify who changed what and when for any kind of industrial software running on their production machines.


With more than 1,600 employees at six production plants in Europe and America and 11 sales offices, GRASS has been a leading manufacturer in furniture movement design for more than 75 years. The design of their movement systems is complex: On the one hand, their aim is to achieve haptically appealing movements, on the other to ensure functionality, ergonomics, and new innovative advances support the added value of premium brands. GRASS has been part of the international Würth Group since 2004 and operates independently under its own brand.

Customer Challenge

As anyone with programming logic controllers (PLCs) knows all too well, making software code changes across multiple machines has traditionally required that each machine be updated individually without reliable revision history tracking.

For GRASS, their automation engineers faced inefficiencies in operating and maintaining their production machines leading to lost productivity, increased risk for disruptions, and higher costs:

  • No version control for their PLC software – whenever they tried to track changes, it was a highly manual effort
  • Difficulty keeping software up to date on individual laptops and computers that were not used regularly
  • Limited permissions for end-users prohibited them from installing software that required admin rights
  • High cost of Siemens licenses needed to be able to work on projects in parallel


To improve management and development of their production machines, GRASS implemented SDA’s IT-like versioning tool for transparent code change management. SDA Version Control lets them quickly identify who changed what and when, facilitating traceability and accountability throughout the development lifecycle.

Built natively on Amazon Web Services (AWS), SDA leverages more than 20 services, including Amazon Cognito for authentication, Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon S3 for storage, versioning, and traceability, Amazon EC2 to stream specialized engineering IDEs as well as AWS Lambda, Amazon EventBridge, and Amazon Simple Queue Service for implementing its serverless event-driven capabilities.

Results and Benefits

GRASS can now conveniently open and manage PLC projects natively in any browser, at any time, and compare all versions quickly and effectively without long loading times. With SDA Version Control as their single source of truth, they easily identify updates and differences for any kind of industrial software running on their production machines, equipment, and PLCs. GRASS has simplified PLC management and development, increased efficiency, and improved security.

Up next, GRASS plans to connect its machines running Siemens TIA Portal Cloud IDE to SDA’s
Browser-based Engineering environment that supports TIA Portal via secure remote access. This will
enable GRASS to move to a pay-as-you-go model. GRASS says, “We save thousands of Euros per year on engineering licenses through the use of SDA’s Browser-based Engineering solution.”

About SDA

Software Defined Automation provides IT-like DevOps tools for automation engineers to increase factory uptime and security with a seamless, comprehensive, integrated solution that enables customers to manage PLC projects for heterogeneous vendors, automate backup, track changes, and use AI to understand legacy code quickly.

Software Defined Automation is a Differentiated AWS Partner Network (APN) Software Partner and is available on the AWS Marketplace.