2015 State of Technology Report: PLCs/PACs

One convenient eBook with the latest technology trends, back-to-basics tutorials and application stories on industrial controllers — from PLCs to PACs.

By Control Design

The programmable logic controller (PLC) is essentially an industrial mini-computer, capable of being programmed with one of the IEC 61131-3 languages. Its primary benefit when first introduced was the elimination of problems associated with altering a manufacturing process; the massive web of relays, wiring and terminal blocks created an array of potential issues each time a machine needed a changeover.

Ladder logic was and still is the programming language of choice, but many things have changed over the years. There’s no longer the need for proprietary terminals, and I/O options have exploded.

PLCs are designed to exist in industrial environments, and they can handle a high number of I/O arrangements, which connect to a variety of sensing devices, as well as actuators that operate motors or fluid-powered cylinders.

Near the dawn of the millennium, ARC Advisory Group coined a new term — the “programmable automation controller” (PAC) — although much discussion has taken place over the years as to what specifically differentiates a PAC from a PLC.

This State of Technology Report explores in greater detail the trends that have shaped PLC/PAC machine control, the fundamentals of the technology, and real-life examples of implementation that have proven successful.

Drawn from the most recent articles published in Control Design, this special report includes articles on emerging developments, basic primers and machine-control examples illustrating the latest technology in action. 

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