Multi-Tasking PACs

Advantech Thinks Dual-Core Processors Can Simplify Controller Issue

Many manufacturers in food-and-beverage or automotive operations, to name but two, require a mix of discrete, batch, process and motion-control solutions, forcing them to use multiple controllers. They’ll use a PLC for discrete control, a motion controller for multi-axis control and a DCS or loop controller for process applications.

Advantech thinks dual-core processors can simplify that controller issue. The company has completely redesigned its APAX-5000 series of PACS to take advantage of the power of dual-core computer processing. "The APAX-5000 series inherits all the advantages of a modern PAC system," says John Wilhite, control and I/O product manager. "It integrates control, information processing and networking in a single platform. Moreover, by leveraging the latest in automation technology, it offers a unique system architecture that provides dual controllers for different tasks, the same I/O with different controllers, and flexible I/O expansion with changeable controllers, reducing installation time and expense and integration complexity."

The controllers offer multi-domain functionality with logic, continuous processing and motion control all available on a single platform. "The series has open, modular architectures, using de facto standards for network interfaces and protocols, and uses a single multi-discipline development platform with common tag names and a single database," says Wilhite. "It provides users with process flow across several machines or process units. The APAX series enables the integration of the production line across motion control, process control, networking, HMI and information processing functions."

The APAX-5000 series' design uses multiple processors to handle these tasks within a single control system. "APAX-5520CE is an economical, cost-effective PAC with a compact size," says Wilhite. "It has a WinCE-based control platform, a flexible I/O connection for easy wiring and 1-msec, real-time I/O access time. It supports Windows .Net class libraries and features a dual-CPU design to handle multi-function applications. It is an ideal PAC for use in sequence or process control machines or cell controllers."

For users requiring a high-performance PAC, such as those in non-machine-tool equipment or production lines, or who must combine control functions with audio or video recording, Wilhite says APAX-5570XPE will meet their needs. "It has a WinXP-based control platform, support for AMONet motion control and dual/triple CPU design for multi-function applications."

APAX-5520KW SoftLogic PAC system, adds Wilhite, features IEC61131-3 programming languages, dual-CPU architecture and can handle up to 32 PID loops with auto-tuning. "It combines the SoftLogic function with HMI functions," he says. "Applications include furnaces, batch processes, reactors and semiconductor manufacturing."

APAX-5070 ModBus/TCP remote I/O coupler is designed with fieldbus integration in mind. Wilhite says it can integrate easily with APAX I/O through the APAX fieldbus coupler, which can collect the data of the entire module. "At the same time, it acts as a fieldbus slave module to communicate with the controller directly," he adds. "Users need only configure the coupler. No programming is required." It supports Modbus/TCP, Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet, EtherCat and PowerLink. APAX-5070 includes flexible I/O connections for easy wiring, 1-msec I/O access, a daisy-chain design to save on wiring and a redundant RIO interface module.

Wilhite says APAX-5520CE and 5570XPE are available now. APAX-5520KW and 5070 ModBus/TCP coupler will be available in November. 

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