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.