PACs for industrial control: The future of control


ith a number of vendors producing Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs) that combine the functionality of a PC and reliability of a PLC, PACs today are increasingly being incorporated into control systems. For the last decade a passionate debate has raged about the advantages and disadvantages of PLCs (programmable logic controllers) compared to PC-based control. As the technological differences between PC and PLC wane, with PLCs using commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware and PC systems incorporating real-time operating systems, a new class of controllers, the PAC is emerging.

PAC, a new acronym created by Automation Research Corporation (ARC), stands for Programmable Automation Controller and is used to describe a new generation of industrial controllers that combine the functionality of a PLC and a PC. The PAC acronym is being used both by traditional PLC vendors to describe their high end systems and by PC control companies to describe their industrial control platforms.

This White Paper explores the origins of the Programmable Automation Controller (PAC), how PACs differ from PLCs and PCs, and the future direction of industrial control with PACs.

Click the Download Now button below for a pdf version of this White Paper, written by Todd Walter, Product Marketing Manager for National Instruments.