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Every month, CONTROL’s editors take a specific product area, collect all the latest, significant tools we can find, and present them here to make your job easier. If you know of any tools and resources we didn’t include, send them to email@example.com, and we’ll add them to the website.
RESOURCES FOR PLC USERS
Several Internet learning tools include a technical support section of the automationdirect.com site, live and recorded web seminars, and Learn.automationdirect.com and AboutPLCs.com. AboutPLCs.com collects all PLC-specific topics in one location.
SIMPLIFIED SOLUTION DEVELOPMENT
Literature describes Telemecanique brand Unity Application Generator software platform that offers a single tool to design a complete automated solution. The platform creates and manages application and configuration data for a PLC-based process control solution and the associated HMI and SCADA system, so there is no need to duplicate entry of the same data.
PLC/PAC WHITE PAPERS
This website has two white papers. The first, “Software for Programmable Automation Controllers” explores some important features of programming software for a programmable automation controller. The second, “Considerations for Choosing a Programmable Automation Controller” compares PACs with other automation technologies and suggests several considerations to keep in mind when choosing PACs for your industrial control or monitoring application.
PAC WHITE PAPER
GE Fanuc Automation
White paper discusses how PLC users can make the leap in capability without re-engineering using PACs (programmable automation controllers). PACs have a single control engine and universal programming environment, as well as portability across multiple hardware platforms.
IEC 61499 DISTRIBUTED FUNCTION BLOCK CONTROL
IEC 61499 Distributed Function Block Control standard defines an open architecture for the next generation of distributed control and automation. The concept is to distribute the control over multiple control nodes—not just connect the nodes, but actually distribute the control application over physical devices and distances. This standardizes an event-driven control architecture as opposed to the sequential control inherent in PLCs. It builds upon the IEC 1131 standard for programming languages. Read more about this standard from Dr. Jim Christensen, the secretary of the IEC 61499.
PAC MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION
Fifteen-minute multimedia presentation reviews the history and basics of PACs. With a number of vendors producing programmable automation controllers (PACs), which combine the functionality of PCs and PLCs, engineers are increasingly using PACs for I/O, communications, motion control and machine vision applications.
GLOBAL PLC MARKET
Frost & Sullivan North America
“Global PLC Market Positioned to Grow in the Future” is the title of a report from Frost & Sullivan. The report claims that the global PLC market has positioned itself to grow further in the future because of its capability to handle process solutions and its penetration into non-manufacturing sectors, including building automation, telecommunication and transportation. Traditional PLC markets face challenges from the combination of software PLCs and industrial PCs.
EVOLUTION OF PC-BASED CONTROL
Advantech, Industrial Automation Group
In the white paper, “The Evolution and Elements of Robust PC-based Control,” the author, Mike Berryman, answers many questions about PC-based control. These include explanations of PC-based control and Softlogic, a discussion of the benefits of PC-based control, where PC-based control shines brightest, the elements of robust PC-based control and looking ahead at PC-based control.