Controllers Share a Diverse Table

PACs Reach Out to More Advanced Machine Control Systems, While PLCs Maintain a Hold on More Straightforward Automation

1 of 3 < 1 | 2 | 3 View on one page

“The paradigm shift by manufacturing plants to PC-based controls is a major challenge to the PLC industry,” says a research report from Mindbranch, which apparently thinks highly of PC-based control in industrial environments. “Higher processing power and lower costs for commercial PCs will accelerate the shift to PC-based systems, which will facilitate more advanced networking among fundamentally different controllers. PACs combine PLC ruggedness with PC functionality in an open, flexible software architecture.”

Not so fast, my friends. PLCs have evolved to incorporate analog I/O, communications over networks and new programming standards such as IEC 61131-3. Engineers create 80% of industrial applications with digital I/O, a few analog I/O points and simple programming techniques. Experts from ARC Advisory, Venture Development Corp. (VDC, and the online training source estimate that 77% of PLCs are used in small applications of less than 128 I/O, 72% of PLC I/O is digital, and 80% of PLC applications are solved with a set of 20 ladder-logic instructions.

The PLC market is alive and well for smaller applications, where PACs might be overkill.

The growing market in China also propels PLC growth. “Global economic integration and increasing domestic demand contribute to the emergence of China as the world’s manufacturing hub,” writes Senior ARC Analyst Himanshu Shah. “The fiercely competitive market and the need to improve productivity drive manufacturers to think strategically and increase investments in new technology. “

VersaMax Micro 64 controller supports a connectable memory module to download program changes without a PC. Logic Developer PDA software lets users interface a Palm handheld device to the VersaMax Micro 64. With Logic Developer PDA, users monitor/change data, view diagnostics, force ON/OFF and configure machine setup.
GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms
IndraLogic VE integrates all functions required for automation, controls and diagnostics. With the PLC integrated with the HMI, IndraLogic VE reduces components and cabinet size, and simplifies wiring. Open, industry-standard software-based PLC kernel is hard-realtime.
Bosch Rexroth
FP-X PLC provides 32 msec per instruction, 32K steps program memory and up to 382 I/O points in a compact brick. Digital I/O, Pulse I/O, analog and communications can be snapped onto the CPU. It has built-in high-speed counters, four axes of motion, USB connection, built-in power supply and removable terminals.
Panasonic Electric Works of America
PC Worx-programmable ILC 150/155 ETH embedded controllers have eight digital inputs and four digital outputs onboard. Ethernet port allows data exchange to a supervisory system. The I/O can be expanded and the controller can be programmed in several IEC 61131 languages.
Phoenix Contact
CompactLogix L45 controller can handle eight axes of motion and supports DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP, enabling interaction and data flow from the smallest device up to the enterprise system.
Rockwell Automation
800/223-5354, ext. 2034

eZMP stand-alone controller integrates motion with an expandable, upgradable industrial computer. It supports 64 axes of motion and 17,000 I/O points with Ethernet, USB, video and PCI connectivity. The device also is a SynqNet motion network master for plug-and-play SynqNet amps and devices.
Danaher Motion

MicroSmart Pentra microcontroller can process basic instructions in 56 nsec. It has field-upgradable firmware and up to seven communication ports. Brick design has 10, 16 or 24 I/O; it has a slim book type for 16 or 32 I/O; it can be customized using add-on modules.
100 Mbit/s 750-841 Ethernet TCP/IP programmable fieldbus controller has a 32-bit RISC processor, 512 KB program memory, 256 KB data memory and 24 KB of retentive memory to connect I/O to Ethernet. It supports HTTP, XML, SOAP, DHCP, DNS, FTP, SNMP and SMTP for connectivity to the machine level.

1 of 3 < 1 | 2 | 3 View on one page
Show Comments
Hide Comments

Join the discussion

We welcome your thoughtful comments.
All comments will display your user name.

Want to participate in the discussion?

Register for free

Log in for complete access.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments