The international standard IEC 61131-3 specifies programming languages for programmable controllers (aka programmable logic controllers, or PLCs), including ladder diagram (LD), structured text (ST), function block (FB), instruction list (IL), and sequential function chart (SFC). Of these, instruction list and structured text are considered textual languages, meaning they use text, numbers, and punctuation — like […]
PLCs + PACs
Control-software portability with IEC 61131-3: How reusable are XML files?
Say an engineering team wants to switch their design’s PLC from one model to another — a relatively infrequent but ordinary specification decision. How well do XML files really work for importing and exporting? How much are component manufacturers really motivated to make that work … and not lock engineers onto one specific hardware? Engineers […]
Opto 22 offers free training with purchase of its pre-integrated GRV-EPIC-LC
Design engineers can get two complimentary seats (a $1,990 value) with the purchase of an Opto 22 groov EPIC Learning Center. The groov EPIC Learning Center (GRV-EPIC-LC) is a pre-integrated system with EPIC hardware and software — suitable for pilot projects, proof of concept (POC) work, and other prototyping and research demonstrations. Hardware in the […]
Programmable automation controllers (PACs) work as an alternative to what exactly?
According to some, today’s most demanding motion designs either incorporate a PAC or industrial PC — and these are engineers’ two leading options for machine control right now. Recall that until recently, industrial automation (including motion control) was extremely segmented. So supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems were at the system top layer … […]
IEC 61131-3 programming: Where’s structured text more appropriate than ladder logic?
No one IEC 61131-3 language leads for all uses. In fact, the best way to program with IEC 61131-3 languages is by using multiple languages together. That accommodates (among other things) the way every engineer has a different methodology for programming. Sequential function chart (SFC): Recall that SFC is the highest-level code standard in IEC […]
Not just Allen Bradley anymore: New controllers abound
10 years ago, there was one main controller brand in U.S. automation — Rockwell Automation’s Allen Bradley. This is still a leading PLC line with a massive adoption rate in the U.S. because: • Allen Bradley did an excellent job educating people in the U.S. on ladder-diagram programming for its PLCs • The manufacturer embedded […]
AutomationDirect Productivity1000 PLC has expanded capabilities
The Productivity1000 Stackable Micro PLC provides communications, user-friendly programming, integrated data storage, and a full lineup of discrete, analog and specialty I/O modules in a super-compact size. A new CPU, more power supplies, analog I/O modules and specialty high-speed I/O and PWM modules are now available for the P1000 PLC from AutomationDirect. The P1-550 CPU, […]
What are some common PAC chassis, module, controller, and I/O options?
In the field of programmable controllers, there are a number of different types of product offerings, depending on the application requirements. Traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been the industry standard for decades. They are well known and understood in terms of operation and programming and there are many PLC manufacturers to choose from. As […]
Controller trends in edge computing and fog computing
Edge computing and greater connectivity are some of the key trends controller manufacturers are seeing in their industry. Here’s what else they told us they’re seeing in the way of tech trends. With respect to the IoT and IIoT, what kinds of capabilities do your components or engineered designs incorporate to support functions related to […]
VFDs with integrated PLCs for motion and machine controls: Programming and setup considerations
Today’s ac drives can be controlled by either an external or internal PLC. Those with built-in controls move machine intelligence to the edge. By Jeff Payne • AutomationDirect Though ac drives can operate as standalone devices, they often integrate into automation systems to control speed of three-phase ac motors that commonly run conveyors, fans, and […]