Makers of programmable automation controllers are strengthening their platforms for motion, logic and HMI control with an array of new offerings. With smaller controllers utilizing the latest generation processor technology gaining in market share, suppliers are packing more functionality and advanced features into these new, more compact controllers.
Ethernet continues to gain broad support as the solution for high-speed network communications and is creating a variety of options for automation control. The trend is to utilize a wide range of Ethernet protocols for all types of communication and suppliers are creating gateways to simplify exchanging information on the network.
COMPACTLOGIX™ L23 PACs
The Allen-Bradley® CompactLogix™ L23 programmable automation controllers (PACs) from Rockwell Automation deliver control technology to small machine-level applications through simplified configuration and an advanced set of features and functionality. With these integrated PACs, users can help simplify their production while helping to increase the functionality and cost-effectiveness of smaller machine platforms.
The new controllers offer customers all the benefits inherent in the company's popular Logix Control Platform. This includes a common programming environment, common networks and a common control engine for future control upgrades. Each PAC also features embedded I/O that is pre-configured for ease-of-use, helping to lower costs through simplified configuration and increased flexibility.
MULTIPLE SERIAL AND ETHERNET COMMUNICATION PORTS
The SNAP-PAC-S2 from Opto 22 is a stand-alone, multi-serial port, dual Ethernet interface programmable automation controller (PAC) and the newest addition to the company's SNAP PAC System of software, controllers, brains and I/O.
The industrially hardened unit provides four serial ports, each of which is fully configurable for either RS-232 or RS-485 serial communication. It is designed for connecting to machines, devices, instrumentation, I/O subsystems and other equipment with serial interfaces — including weigh scales, vibration monitors, RFID and barcode readers, display terminals and printers. An RS-232 Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) modem connection for communication over leased lines, radios and cellular networks is also supported. It features two 10/100 Mbps Ethernet interfaces for host and I/O communication over Ethernet networks.
IMPROVED PROGRAMMING FLEXIBILITY
The Rexroth IndraLogic family of PLCs and PACs now includes an IndraControl L10 PLC with unified software, scalable hardware, reusable code and a variety of pre-developed functions to help machine builders reduce engineering time.
The OPC-compliant IndraControl L10 features a full megabyte of program storage space along with an Ethernet port for remote access or SCADA functionality. Memory size allows machine builders to run larger and more complex programs or different applications without the need for multiple PLCs.
To save memory space and help improve scan time, Rexroth's PLC incorporates reusable code, a feature normally found on larger PLCs. As a result, the L10 has a scan rate which is approximately 20 times faster than comparable PLCs currently on the market.
NEW ELAU CONTROLLERS ADD CAPABILITIES
ELAU's new C200 A2 controller, designed for applications with one to two axes, rounds off the lower end of the series and can be used even for the automation of machines without servo axes. The C400 A8 for eight servo axes represents an alternative for applications below the C400 A16 which can handle up to 16 servo axes. With improved scalability in CPU performance, the PacDrive™ C200 A2 and C400 A8 controllers provide a foundation for cost-optimizing automation solutions.
PacDrive™ systems combine motion, PLC and communication functions on a common hardware platform. The drives' function is limited to controlling servo motors. Motion is centralized in the controller, which communicates with the drives using SERCOS and with the field devices via standard fieldbuses.
NEW HIGH-PERFORMANCE RX3I CPU320
The new PACSystems RX3i CPU320 from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platform incorporates the Intel 1 GHz processor to provide speed and performance. The controller is ideal for applications where the processing power of a controller has been pushed to the limit. The CPU320 has 64 Mbytes of user memory available.
The CPU320 is designed for high-speed applications where memory and performance are needed, including applications such as material handling, packaging, assembly and process control. Key features of the RX3i CPU320 include: two built-in communication ports, configurable data and program memory. The CPU320 can be programmed in Ladder Diagram, Structured Text, Function Block Diagram and C.
NEW MODICON M340™ PROGRAMMABLE CONTROLLERS
The Modicon M340™ PAC from Schneider Electric offers a platform that provides real-time logic solving, along with communication, motion, database and manipulation capabilities in multiple programming environments. The M340™ is programmed with Unity™ Pro, the company's latest IEC 61131-3 development software.
The M340™ family of PACs improves machine performance by providing exceptional control and reliability, in addition to simplifying setup and implementation by standardizing on a single programming tool. Hardware and software is tightly integrated and can be configured using the Unity™ suite which offers a choice of five IEC languages, graphic programming and advanced online help.