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PCs Are Losing Control

June 16, 2011
PC-Based Control Loses Ground to PLCs and PACs

Control Design's latest reader survey on programmable control platforms shows that machine builders continue to embrace PLCs for their primary machine control platform — 74% in 2010 and actually up from the 67% reported in 2008. PAC use grew as well, from 13% to almost 16% in 2010.

Meanwhile, the reported share of PC-based control fell by more than half—from close to 13% in 2009 to less than 6% in our latest poll.

Within motion applications, the difference is perhaps more noticeable. For those using PC-based control, less than 3% handle motion on their PC, and more than 71% aren’t handling motion at all. More than 27% of the PLCs, on the other hand, take care of the motion on their own, with an additional 28% getting some help from motion cards, FPGAs or other means.

The number of PLCs that comply with IEC 61131-3 is also on the rise. Compared with about a third in the previous year’s study, more than 45% surveyed in 2010 said their PLCs were compliant; an additional 29% said at least some of their PLCs were compliant.

Despite the changes, it’s interesting to note how much things actually stayed the same this year. More than 78% of respondents said they did not change platforms during the past two years. That’s a huge leap from 2009, when only 18% said they had made no change to their platforms.

Productivity PAC
Productivity3000 programmable automation controller is a modular, rack-based system of up to 115,000 I/O points with local, expansion and remote I/O bases and a full lineup of discrete, analog and specialty I/O modules. The controller has 50 Mb memory and seven communication ports, and features a four-line x 10-character LCD. Seven onboard communications ports support USB, Ethernet and serial devices.

Smart Relays
Series 900 smart programmable relays include 16 timers, 16 retentive selectable four-digit up/down counters, 16 time switches, 16 compare counters, 16 soft text messages, 32 auxiliary relays and 12 analog comparators. These devices offer the ability to add up to three expansion modules, expanding I/O to 32 digital inputs and 16 relay outputs. The backlit LCD screen allows displaying and modification of pre-selected parameters of function blocks, viewing I/O status and programming on the device. Rated IP20 with UL and CE markings.

Power of the Atom
CX5000 PAC uses Intel Atom technology to deliver up to 1.6 GHz processing power in a magnesium housing. DIN rail-mountable, it has a fanless design with a maximum power loss of 12.5 W. CX5010 is equipped with a 1.1 GHz Intel Atom processor, while CX5020 features a 1.6 GHz processor.
Beckhoff Automation

Together as One
APAX-5000 has two standalone CPU modules working together: one provides computing power for HMI/SCADA, recipe, database and communication tasks; the other is for SoftLogic I/O tasks. The same I/O processing program can be stored on two controllers; one will execute the I/O processing and if that controller fails, the second controller will automatically cut in within 1.5 s.

Plenty of Power
Power Panel 65 (PP65) integrates control, visualization and drive technology in one device, has a 500 MHz Geode LX800 processor, is available with a 5.7 in. touchscreen or a 3.5 in. touchscreen and function keys, and has two USB interfaces and a Fast Ethernet port. Remote I/O and drives can be connected using modular fieldbus interfaces.
B&R Industrial Automation
Connect Away
MicroSmart Pentra PLC allows up to 14 connections at the same time. Users configure the controller to communicate with PCs through WindLDR programming software, a standard web browser, Modbus TCP Client/Server protocol and HMIs simultaneously. The PLCs can be configured by DHCP server so the PLC will automatically obtain the IP address once connected to the network.

Mid-Level Control
nLC-055’s nanoline controller has four-function math capability and integrated analog inputs for small to mid-size machines with limited I/O points. The new model can add, subtract, multiply and divide, as well as perform modulo (%) operations. It has two analog inputs with 12-bit resolution, eight digital inputs, two high-speed counters, a built-in real-time clock and retentive memory and four relay outputs.
Phoenix Contact

PAC’s a Snap
Snap-PAC-R1-W is a rack-mounted programmable automation controller with 802.11a/b/g networking, two independent 10/100 Mbps wired interfaces for standard Ethernet, and one RS-232 serial port. All communications interfaces can be used simultaneously. The controller provides communication, I/O processing, remote monitoring and data acquisition functions, and is fully integrated with all other Snap PAC system components.
Opto 22

Temperature Control
TC Series PID temperature controller has newly developed PID control algorithm and 100 ms high-speed sampling. Simultaneous SSRP output and relay output, and two alarms are supported; control methods include on/off, P, PI and PD. Display character sizing ranges from 5Wx15H mm to 11Wx22H mm.

COMPACT control
cRIO-9023 controller has a 533 MHz PowerPC processor, and the cRIO-9025 controller has an 800 MHz PowerPC processor, as well as dual Ethernet ports for network programming, communication and expansion I/O. Both controllers work with the existing CompactRIO reconfigurable chassis, which includes field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that are programmed using LabView 2009 graphical system design platform. In addition to an extended operating temperature, the new Compact-RIO controllers are available with conformal coating.
National Instruments

Control to Go
CVC600 vehicle controller for automating standard forklifts or improving AGV control is based on industry-standard technology that can handle any vehicle type, wheel configuration and navigation technology, including laser, spot, range, EyeWay, magnetic tape or inductive wire. CVC600 has support for WLAN, LAN, CAN, RS-232/422/485 communication.

Control the Heat
CN730 Series ¼ DIN temperature controller has a dual display and programming menus. Control functions include on/off, PID, auto-tuning or manual tuning. The series accepts a variety of thermocouple and RTD inputs, and process value and set-point value are displayed simultaneously with the process value in red and set point in green.
Omega Engineering

Network Controller
750-880 Ethernet 2.0 programmable fieldbus controller has 1 MB of both program and data memory and an SD port for 8 GB of extra memory to transfer device parameters, boot files or other file types from one controller to another for backup and restore. Accessible via FTP, the SD card functions as an additional drive or data backup. As part of the Ethernet 2.0 platform, the controller processes 1,000 instructions/235 μs.

VS1SP and VS1GV drives have a PLC mode that allows 30 rungs of simple ladder logic to be embedded in the drive. Each rung consists of two input conditions that can be logically combined (AND, OR, XOR, NOR, NAND) to create an output condition. The input conditions can be the digital inputs of the drive or status bits in the drive itself. The outputs can be digital outputs or drive commands.

Control Choices
ControlLogix L73 and L75 programmable automation controllers can support 100 axes. A 1 GB secure digital card provides improved data integrity, and faster reads and writes. The L73 PAC supplies 16 MB of memory and the L75 PAC offers 32 MB of memory. A USB port enables uploads and downloads, firmware upgrades and online edits.
Rockwell Automation

The I/O You Want
FMD88-10 PLC with eight digital inputs, eight digital outputs and 10 analog I/Os; and FMD1616-10 with 16 digital inputs, 16 digital outputs and 10 analog I/Os both have an I/O expansion port, LCD interface, RS-232 and RS-485 serial ports, and an Ethernet port. iTrilogi client/server software and support Modbus TCP/IP protocols make the PLCs remotely accessible for machine monitoring and troubleshooting/reprogramming.
Triangle Research

Has Connections
Type 8611 controller can connect to non-Bürkert control valves by 4-20 mA, 0-10 V or PWM output. The PI controller has many functions and value feedback can be supplied as a standard signal (4-20 mA/0-10 V), frequency or RTD signal, or directly to the universal controller. Switching points can be set via 4-20 mA or 0-10 V signal or with the keypad. It is possible to set a cascade structure with both temperature and flow as inputs.
Bürkert Fluid Control Systems

CoDeSys embedded CPX controller lets users of IEC 61131-3 port over existing code, libraries and function blocks, reducing programming time. For single- and multi-axis applications, it operates autonomously or with a host controller. Based on a 400 MHz, low-power-consumption, 32-bit processor with 64 MB of memory, it has an Ethernet 10/100BaseT interface.

Smart PAC
Smart SoftPLC combines I/O control and logic, communications, firewall/VPN, and an embedded web server. It runs a ladder logic instruction set, with virtually unlimited user memory for logic and data. Additional functions include LogData and SendEmail. User-written functions in C/Java language are supported. It has a four-port Ethernet switch/router with Power over Ethernet (PoE) and fiber connection options, five serial ports and a phone modem port.

Dry Sense of Control
HEC-HMI PLCs have a sealed, watertight enclosure with gland connectors, and an operating range of -40 to 80 °C. I/O provides six 8-32 Vdc inputs and two analog inputs field-configurable to 0–20 mA or 0–5 Vdc and available in 10- or 15-bit resolution. There are a total of six digital outputs. Four are rated to 4 A with automatic over-current safety and programmable status monitoring. These outputs are selectable as PWM with internal analog current-sensing variables to allow closed-loop control of the output loads.

Proficy Machine Edition 6.5 universal development environment adds the ability to import and export control logic in XML, allowing users to maintain control strategies in standardized XML format and selectively import logic blocks to create a complete project. Machine Edition can interface with external programming and design tools that generate control codes in XML. Users can design in a third-party development tool and import the generated XML logic.
GE Intelligent Platforms

CJ2M programmable controllers have levels of program capacity from 5k to 60k steps. All models come with a standard USB port, and some have a combination of built-in EtherNet/IP and plug-in serial communication options. All CJ1 power supplies, input/output, control and communications modules are compatible with CJ2M. Programming is identical for CP1 micro, CJ1/CJ2 compact and CS1 rack style platforms, so migration among CPU platforms can be done.
Omron Electronics

Major League Controls
MLC motion logic controller with Version 10 firmware is based on a 1 GHz PAC platform that supports real-time Ethernet communication on Ethernet platforms, including SERCOS III, EtherNet/IP and Profinet for interfacing with connecting controls, drives, I/Os, safety, HMI, web and machine-to-machine synchronization.
Bosch Rexroth

Added Functions
Firmware version 2.0 for the Simatic S7-1200 CPUs adds Profinet IO controller functionality, and implements communication with Profinet IO devices. An integral web server with user-defined web pages lets users call up CPU information and process data using a standard web browser. Data archiving is integrated, allowing data from the user program to also be archived during runtime.
Siemens Industry

Control Choices
Expandable ELCM controllers accommodate a mix of I/O and adapt for future I/O needs. ELCB controllers are designed for applications that do not require expandability and use 24 Vdc inputs and either relay or transistor outputs. In a brick-style enclosure, both have integrated 100–240 Vac power supplies, provide 24 Vdc for input sensors, and support an RS-232 communication port. ELCB supports a single RS-485 master/slave port; ELCM supports two RS-485 master/slave ports.

Programmable Meter
PAXLT temperature meter is programmable for 14 different thermocouple and RTD inputs for temperature monitoring and control. Programmable capture times prevent false maximum and minimum readings. Output modes and setup options are fully programmable. The meter is manufactured with NEMA 4X/IP65 sealed bezel and complies with CE requirements.
Red Lion Controls

Open Standards
MP2310iec machine controller offers three models that allow up to three local modules of digital or analog I/O to be controlled, includes open standards EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP, and can operate local Sigma-5 outputs. Mechatrolink motion network provides a channel for configuring the machine from a single location with one software tool even when complex motion such as camming or gearing functions are required. Third-party remote I/O modules can be interfaced via Mechatrolink, EtherNet/IP or Modbus TCP.

Safety Controller
NE0A-SCPU01 safety network controller provides 12 safety inputs, two test outputs and six safety outputs. It can be used as a standalone controller, a safety slave or a DeviceNet standard slave, and has preconfigured and TUV-certified program templates for the user to select based on an application’s safety requirements, save as templates and reuse on multiple NE0A units.
Omron STI


Source Code Backup
FP0R PLCs provide 16 or 32k steps program capacity and 32k words data register, equipped with built-in general-purpose memory for backing up of all the development source code with notes, comments and variables. Processing speed is up to 0.08 μs per step (when executing programs up to 3k steps). It comes standard with 10-, 14-, 16- or 32-I/O models and is expandable with the standard FP0 expansion units (up to 128 digital I/O points).
Panasonic Electric Works
908/464-3550, x2026

  Mini Multi
PNOZmulti Mini, PNOZmm0p, bridges the gap between the PNOZsigma relay and the PNOZmulti programmable relay. The Mini is a safety controller configured using a graphic-based software package. It has 20 inputs, 10 if the device being monitored requires dual-channel wiring and four semiconductor outputs, two if dual-channel wiring is required. The chip card stores the entire configuration program and can be copied as many times as needed.
Pilz USA

CAN-Do Automation
QCI-D2-MG-C and QCI-D2-IG-J controllers support CANopen. These controllers provide 3.5 A continuous and 4.5 A peak output at 12-48 V. CiA 402 refers to CAN in Automation (CiA) CANopen Drives and Motion Control Profile 402, which defines such functions as startup and homing techniques, as well as motion profiles.
QuickSilver Controls

Modicon M238 PLC uses SoMachine software, which embeds intelligence in four primary hardware platforms. It also adds an embedded high-speed counter (HSC) for counting pulses and update outputs, regardless of the scan time of the application; one CANopen master to manage 16 devices that is open to third-party devices; up to eight HSCs (100 KHz) and up to seven expansion modules (up to 248 digital I/Os, up to 56 analog I/Os).
Schneider Electric
BL67 programmable gateway performs local or distributed control functions and manages local I/O, while also acting as the master on the DeviceNet or CANopen network and making the data available to the Ethernet network. These gateways are designed to give users invested in a DeviceNet infrastructure the ability to migrate to Ethernet.
www.turck.com  In the Zone
EZ-Zone RM can be used as a PID temperature/process controller, an over/under limit controller or these functions can be combined into an integrated controller. Other control functions can be integrated, such as high amperage power controller output. It can be configured with one to 16 modules controlling one to 64 loops, is single-loop scalable, and offers current monitoring for the entire system, onboard data logging, sensor backup capability and Tru-Tune+ adaptive control.
www.watlow.com   Open OS CPU
E-RT3 2.0 series features high-speed RISC processor, a choice of operating systems including VxWorks 6 or Linux, and compatibility with existing FA-M3 I/O platforms and CPUs. The device is designed to run proprietary algorithms or other specialized applications while allowing the standard logic CPUs to coordinate discrete machine control.
Yokogawa of America

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