A programmable logic controller (PLC) refers to an industrial digital computer that controls the manufacturing process. PLCs are adapted to operate in harsh industrial settings, so they can withstand severe conditions often found in industrial facilities, such as strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, or dusty or wet environments.
What is a PLC controller?
A PLC is essential in running the manufacturing process in an industrial facility. It controls robotic devices, manufacturing processes, or any other computerized activity deployed in the manufacturing process. Due to the sensitive and exact nature of many industrial processes, PLCs need to be highly reliable. In addition, since they control the automation of processes ranging from entire production lines to specific machine functions, they need to be easily programmable and adaptable to each facility’s unique needs and requirements.
PLC automation is suitable for a wide range of tasks and PLC-based control systems have become widely adopted in a variety of sectors. They serve as a key component in many facilities, since they’re fast, easy to operate, and can be programmed in a variety of ways, as needed.
What are the features of a programmable logic controller?
PLCs are composed of inputs, outputs, and a CPU. The CPU stores and processes program data, and the input and output modules serve information to the CUP, triggering certain results. Input devices can be sensors or switches, and output devices could be valves, drives, or lights. Both input and output can be analog or digital.
At its basic level, the PLC receives information from input devices or senses, processes the data, and triggers outputs, based on predetermined parameters that were programmed into the system. In addition, a PLC can track and record data, such as machine productivity, start and stop processes automatically, and create alerts for any malfunctions. The advantage of a PLC is its capability to be programmed according to a facility’s needs, and its flexibility and adaptability to a wide range of applications.
PLC and Smart Manufacturing
PLC machine control is a key component of the machine monitoring that occurs in smart manufacturing. Smart manufacturing technology improves efficiency, reduces waste, and can optimize the processes and business operations of a manufacturing facility. PLCs provide crucial data and information to the overall information system deployed in a manufacturing facility, and remain an important component of the sophisticated technology running at an industrial site, as they frequently serve as the interface between devices on the manufacturing floor and backend comprehensive systems that allow managers to view all of the data at a site.