BEFORE YOU BUY AN INDUSTRIAL PC
PCs performing real-time control have been “the next big thing” in process automation for decades, but many still doubt their reliability and maintainability. The solution is to use an industrial PC (IPC), which can perform just as well as a DCS or a PLC. This ControlGlobal.com article tells what you should you look for in an IPC. Find it here.
AN INTRODUCTION TO LADDER LOGIC
Need to know what ladder logic is and how it to use it? Join 200,000 viewers who have brought themselves up (or back up) to speed in less than 20 minutes with the video, “Introduction to PLC ladder logic programming.” Created by Automation Technologies, the video shows how to get from a wiring diagram to ladder logic, and how ladder logic is implemented using a PLC, I/O and generic programming software. Other videos at www.automationnc.com and www.PLCMentor.com will take you as far up the ladder as you care to go. The intro is here.
LEARN ALL ABOUT COMPACT PCI
While custom solutions have their place and can be tailor-made for an application, IPCs represent a far more powerful and cost effective solution. The whitepaper, “Next Generation IPCs,” states traditional IPCs may not offer all the peripherals needed for a particular application. To better meet industry’s needs, IPC manufacturers are adding CompactPCI technology into IPC platforms. CompactPCI is a well-established industrial computer parallel bus interconnect standard that has been in existence for more than 10 years, and has progressively evolved while maintaining backwards/downward compatibility. Standardization is specified by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), a consortium of more than 200 companies. Find the whitepaper here.
COMPARE PLCS AND PACS
This whitepaper from National Instruments compares the two technologies, describing the benefits and differences between NI’s line of programmable automation controllers (PACs) and more traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The compact FieldPoint PAC hardware architecture is used for this comparison because it’s the most similar to a PLC. This document will describe the factors and criteria you should take into consideration when deciding which platform is better suited, depending on your control and measurement needs. Issues covered include graphics, measurements, processing capabilities, platforms and communications. The whitepaper is free and downloadable. The direct link is here.
VPAC COMPARISON CHART
This simple, one-page chart compares PCs, PLCs, RTUs, DCSs and PACs in terms of their features, functions and capabilities. The same page contains links to other PAC-related information, including, “Considerations for Choosing a PAC” and “Understanding Programmable Automation Controllers in Industrial Automation.” The direct link is at here.
NEXT-GENERATION MACHINE INTERFACE
This tutorial (one of a series) demonstrates how to configure the NA settings in Omron’s Sysmac Studio integrated development environment. Sysmac Studio integrates logic, visualization, safety, motion, safety and data collection (via sequential query language, or SQL). A variety of how-to videos are available on YouTube. Watch the video here.
EXPLORE THE STATE OF TECHNOLOGY
This State of Technology Report for PLCs and PACs explores in greater detail the trends that have shaped PLC/PAC machine control, the fundamentals of the technology, and real-life examples of implementation that have proven successful. Drawn from the most recent articles published in Control Design magazine, this special report includes articles on emerging developments, basic primers and machine-control examples illustrating the latest technology in action. Here’s the direct link.