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  • PLCs Pack it in
    Programmable automation controllers enhance PLC's process-control capabilities. Programmable automation controllers, like these from National Instruments Corp., complement and enhance PLC operations by performing special tasks above and beyond an average PLC's capabilities, such as machine vision
  • FPGAs put PLCs in motion
    , where one C program works well on any computer, every PLC vendor has its own flavor of IEC 61131-3 compliant specifications. But all brands have a basic architecture that is similar. A look at how a PLC operates illustrates the similarities. For example, to turn on an LED, any PLC needs three
  • Process Analytical Technologies 101
    to collect? Will you need more than one type of measurement to determine, for example, whether product is dry enough or a reaction has gone to completion? Where will data reside after collecting it? Will they be stored on a standalone instrument or fed into a programmable logic controller (PLC)? Does
  • Machine control beyond PLCs
    are actually implemented in an FPGA that is programmed with LabView. Unlike traditional PC or PLC processors, FPGAs are parallel processors. Additional loops do not affect the performance of other independent loops. In this example, the counter and the PID loop execute in parallel on the FPGA
  • Making sense of motion networks
    to several motors. The central PC could be a software program, a microprocessor, or PLC. An example of a flat motion-control system is a printing press with multiple, servocontrolled spools. Because timing and latency are critical metrics in such a machine, a central controller (often a PC or PLC
  • When PCs Control Machines
    is not just a slightly more complicated example of motion control via computer. Yet that is the way some still view such tasks. Too bad, because developers who don't grasp a few of the intricacies in this discipline are likely to find themselves in a tough spot. The idea behind PC-based CNC is to eliminate
  • Proximity sensors for stamping dies
    , and the type of connected device. For example, sensors must supply more output current to a relay than to a PLC input. Proximity sensors offer numerous advantages in stamping applications. They are solid state so there are no moving parts to wear out. Sealed devices are impervious to oil, coolant
  • The good stuff may cost less
    vendor can outweigh modestly higher costs. And minimizing maintenance training brings additional savings with automation components that use software, such as HMIs, PLCs, and drives. However, there are cases when using best-of-class components make sense. For example, motion controllers are one

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