Odo Josef Struger

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Odo Josef Struger
Born (1931-08-12)12 August 1931
Unterloibl, Ferlach, Carinthia, Austria
Died December 8, 1998(1998-12-08) (aged 67)
Cleveland, Ohio
Occupation Engineer, businessman, scientist
Known for Business, electronic achievements
Spouse(s) Marlene

Odo Josef Struger (August 12, 1931 – December 8, 1998) was a pioneer in modern-day automation.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Struger was born in 1931 in Unterloibl. This is a town in the municipality of Ferlach in Carinthia of Austria. He moved to the United States in the 1950s and lived in the Cleveland area most of his life.[1][2][3]

Programmable logic controller[edit]

PLC Control Panel

Struger is sometimes known as the "father of the programmable logic controller" as is Dick Morley.[3][4] Struger was involved in the invention of the Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller (PLC) during 1958 to 1960.[1][2][5] Struger is often called the father of Allen-Bradley's programmable logic controller ("PLC") and credited with creating that acronym.[3] The abbreviation "PLC" and the term "Programmable Logic Controller" are registered trademarks of the Allen-Bradley Company.[6] Rockwell (Allen-Bradley) became the programmable logic controller device leader in the United States during the tenure of Struger.[7]

This is a device that is part of computers used today in nearly every machine automated factory worldwide.[4] It is an electronic device that allows precise numerical control of machinery.[5][6] It makes possible modern factory automation, as well as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, plastic injection molding machines, commercial washing machines, and amusement park rides. It is even found in lavish stage effects of Broadway productions.[1][2] The devices are designed to work in real time, taking in information, processing it and producing commands to control a mechanical process as it happens.[2][6] The Programmable Logic Controller ("PLC") came about as a replacement for automatic control systems that used tens and hundreds (maybe even thousands) of relays, motor driven cam timers, and rotary sequencers.[6]

Murray Slovick (Spectrum editor, a magazine of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has been reported as saying,

William Little (Rockwell Automation chief technical officer) quoted to reporters,

Struger based his computer technology on a concept developed in his doctoral dissertation at the Vienna University of Technology titled, The Process for Quantitative Handling of Positioning Errors of Numerical Control Machines.[2] He obtained a doctorate degree in 1970 at the Vienna University of Technology from this thesis.[1]

The device Struger invented is essentially a rugged industrial computer that controls machinery.[2][6] It is in most machine factories throughout the world today, especially those of high technology. The programmable logic controller computer technology is now a billion-dollar-a-year industry.[2]


Struger left the Vienna University of Technology in 1956 for a job at Asea Brown Boveri, a Swiss power company.[2] In 1958 he became a research engineer at Allen-Bradley in Milwaukee. Here he headed a team that developed the programmable logic controller.[2] Struger later became a vice president for Allen-Bradley and held that position until he retired in 1998. He worked for the company for nearly 40 years.[1][2][3]

Struger played a leadership role in developing the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard for PLCs and its international successor, IEC 61131.[3]

Struger patented means for detecting malfunction conditions at the inputs to a logic gate. One was for the "Fault Detecting and Fault Propagating Logic Gate." That patent was U.S. Pat. No. 3,743,855 issued July 3, 1973. Another control circuit employing fault mode logic gates was U.S. Pat. No. 3,751,684, issued to Struger on August 7, 1973.[8] Struger also received U.S. Pat. No. 4,302,820 for a similar electrical apparatus as well as U.S. Pat. No. 3,240,951.[9][10] Struger also received Canadian patents.[11] Struger has received and been involved with several other patents.[12]

Retirement and death[edit]

Struger retired in 1997 as Allen-Bradley's vice president of technology.[1][3] He died on December 8, 1998, in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 67 of thyroid cancer. His wife was Marlene. He had two sons, Andre, of Farmington Hills, Michigan., and Gregory, of Newbury, Ohio. He has a sister named Franziska Panger of Austria.[2]


  • Awarded 50 patents.[1][2]
  • Prometheus Award of 1996[1]
  • Odo J. Struger Automation Award.[1]
  • Author of 40 published technical papers.[1][2]
  • Vienna University of Technology automation lab.[1]
  • Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.[2]
  • Helped develop IEC 1131-3, a PLC programming language standard.[1]
  • Automation Hall of Fame at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.[1]
  • Worked on the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems consortia on Holonic Manufacturing Systems.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "A-B PLC inventor, Dr. Odo Struger, dies". Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Brier, Steven E. (December 27, 1998). "O. Struger, 67, A Pioneer In Automation". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-27. Dr. Odo J. Struger, who invented the programmable logic controller, which makes possible modern factory automation, amusement park rides and lavish stage effects in Broadway productions, died on December 8 in Cleveland. He was 67. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Leaders of the Pack". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Odo Struger, automation expert". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  5. ^ a b Anzovin, p. 100, item # 2189. Programmable logic controller was invented by the Austrian-born American engineer Odo J. Struger in 1958-60 at the Allen-Bradley company in Milwaukee, WI, USA. A programmable logic controller, or PLC, is a simple electronic device that allows precise numerical control of machinery. It is widely used to control everything from washing machines to roller coaster to automated manufacturing equipment.
  6. ^ a b c d e "What IS a PLC?". Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  7. ^ "A short history of Automation growth". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Digital input circuit with fault detection means". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Printed circuit board module patents". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  10. ^ "MULTILOOP POSITIONING CONTROL SYSTEM". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  11. ^ "Canadian Patents Database". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  12. ^ "Inventors". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 


See also[edit]