The PLC is king of controllers for machine control platforms, but it’s not the only game in town. According to a recent Control Design survey, two-thirds of respondents said they primarily use PLCs. Both PACs and PC-based controls are each used by 13% of the participants in the survey. Embedded-board controls are used by only 5%.
Although PCs are receiving attention, 32% of the respondents who said they use PCs don’t use them for motion control. One-quarter of those same participants said they use PCs, but with an installed motion card, while 21% said they use PC-based controls only. The dominant operating system for these users is XP, selected by more than 77% of respondents. Other operating systems receiving mention included Vista, QNX, CE and even proprietary operating systems.
Surprisingly, 40% of surveyed PLC users aren’t using it for motion, but 30% do use it for all their motion control and 27% said they use it with a motion card connected.
The overwhelming language of choice was ladder logic, used by 87% of participants. Function block and structured text are used by 46% and 32% of respondents, respectively. Instruction list and sequential function chart each received 16% of the votes.
Sixty-one percent of the survey respondents said they use an integrated platform for which a single programming environment handles all required functions including control, HMI, I/O and motion.
Modular Controller series PID modules support ramp/soak control and provide multi-zone PID control, data acquisition and I/O for PC, DCS or PLC control systems, while integrating data logging and advanced alarm management.
Red Lion Controls
Adam-5550KW programmable automation controller (PAC) is designed to control tasks that require the features of both PLCs and industrial PCs. It uses the AMD Geode GX533 CPU with control-specific features such as a watchdog timer, battery backup RAM and deterministic I/O.
Advantech, Industrial Automation Group
Three small Ethernet TCP/IP PLCs are built for the Bus Terminal I/O system. BC9020 and BC9120 models offer more program and data memory than BC9050. BC9120 has two Ethernet ports that act as a two-channel switch. The I/O stations can be configured with a line topology instead of a traditional star topology.
EC31-HMI/RTX controller for the Simatic S7-mEC modular controller system simplifies configuration and minimizes installation costs by combining controller and HMI functions in a single solution. With WinAC RTX 2008 and WinCC Flexible software preinstalled, it accommodates plant-wide data, process visualization and control functions in an open platform.
Siemens Energy & Automation
CJ2H programmable automation controller and CX-One integrated software tool v. 3.0 handle motion, process and logic control, process simulation and network configuration. With built-in EtherNet/IP interoperability and common tag database programming stored in CPU memory, the PAC enables machine builders to communicate using EtherNet/IP tag data links to legacy systems from other manufacturers.
Omron Industrial Automation
The 12 Vdc MicroSmart Pentra uses a traditional brick design with 10, 16 or 24 built-in I/Os. Functions include an optional communication module to configure up to seven serial devices, connecting HMI, PC, barcode readers, RFID equipment, AV controllers and more.