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Hot Products

Ethernet embedded at low end

As Ethernet migrates into low-end PLCs, engineers have more choices to achieve connectivity. Instead of buying a high-end controller, for example, or using serial connections from a PC or handheld device for connecting to Ethernet, the VersaMax(TM) PLC and I/O line gives engineers two Ethernet options. First, an Ethernet Network Interface Unit (NIU)-with enhancements that include support for Series 90(TM) PLCs using Ethernet Global Data, expansion racks for up to 64 I/O modules per station, and hot-swap I/O modules, the NIU also supports high-density analog modules. Second option is the low-end VersaMax CPUE05 with Ethernet embedded. Hardware includes 64K of user-configurable memory for those who do not need large programs but do need a large register for data collection, according to Product Manager Bill Black. "For centralized control architectures, the CPUEO5 uses dual, parallel processors tightly coupled through the backplane," he explains. "One handles the ladder logic, the other Ethernet connectivity. For distributed control architectures, engineers can use Ethernet NIUs to bring remote I/O back to a CPU005 via Ethernet." GE Fanuc : Enter 563

Big power, small package

Engineers interested in decreasing control cabinet panel size or in using a more compact machine may find the CJ1 series of controllers appealing. With each module roughly the size of a deck of cards, CJ1 series controllers consume 40-60% of the panel space of Omron's mid-size PLCs. Its modular rackless architecture uses simple locking connectors instead of a PLC rack. "This simplifies ongoing design changes that can make it difficult for engineers to size and configure control racks when they are unsure of the end requirements," says Product Marketing Manager Jake Henry. CJ1 also includes communication options commonly found on larger platforms that leverage Omron's FINS protocol to tie Ethernet, Controller Link, serial, and device-level networks together for data exchange and programming. "With processor speeds as fast as 20 nanosec, Flash memory cards up to 48 MB for easy program transfer and data storage, and up to 2,560 I/O points," explains Henry, "the CJ1 exceeds the performance of our mid and large rack controllers." Omron : Enter 564

Small packages don't have to be expensive

Designed for distributed control applications requiring a lower cost-point, the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix(TM)5330 delivers the Logix control engine in a smaller package at a lower price, according to Product Manager Jeff Gellendin. "It has all the benefits of a CompactLogix5320 with additional memory, I/O capability, and a second serial port," he explains, "which makes it more attractive for engineers that want to move the unified programming package of the Logix architecture into lower-end applications." Engineers can connect a local device to one serial port and connect DeviceNet or Ethernet interfaces to the other. With DeviceNet, the network can link up to 64 devices. The Ethernet network interface uses the EtherNet/IP protocol. Both network interfaces allow for peer-to-peer messaging, data collection, and program upload/download/monitor abilities. A scalable I/O system supports up to 256 local I/O points. Its modular rackless design, with front-access removal and insertion ability, lets engineers choose between DIN-rail and panel mounting. "Its integrated high-performance serial bus and removable terminal blocks provide greater flexibility and a lower cost of inventory and commissioning," says Gellendin, "easing initial assembly and speeding module replacement." Allen-Bradley : Enter 565

Measurement and control capability expanded

If you're in the market for both a controller and an operator interface, Mosaic Industries' Panel-touch Controller(TM) can take care of both problems. It's essentially a C-programmable embedded computer with a built-in graphical user interface, that integrates a multiple I/O QED flash board with a high-contrast backlit graphics display, a transparent touchscreen overlay, and pre-coded menuing software. "A module carrier board added to the design allows the controller to be customized with up to eight expansion modules," explains Design Engineer David Siu, "and a high level of software and hardware integration makes prototyping new machines fast and easy." The new expansion modules add a 24-bit sigma-delta analog-to-digital converter, and additional digital I/O lines, as well as the ability to control ac and dc loads. Pre-coded I/O drivers facilitate data acquisition, pulse width modulation, motor control, frequency measurement, data analysis, analog control, and communications. And new modules including Ethernet and a Flash memory card are in development. "We offer the package deal," Siu says. "It's very sleek, compact, and easy to interface with compared to using a separate controller and graphical user interface." Mosaic Industries : Enter 566

Drive family adds full-fledged controller

With Ethernet, stepper or servo control, expansion I/O, multitasking, enhanced position following, and useful software tools, the Gem6K drive/controller combines Compumotor's 6K controller functions within its Gemini drive line. "Now engineers don't need to integrate separate drives and controllers," says Shawn Gillespie, product sales coordinator. "With the drive and controller in the same package, engineers just hook up the motor to get up and running." With a PLC scan mode and modular I/O blocks that include NPN, PNP, relay, and analog modules, Gem6K handles any combination of up to 256 I/O points. Instead of using standalone controllers linked via RS232 serial communications, or taking a bus-based system approach, Gem6K's Ethernet connectivity with client capability allows engineers to connect multiple drive/controllers to standard Ethernet LANs. "It's a low-cost alternative to a full-blown network," says Gillespie. "Client capability means the Gem6K can poll multiple devices on an Ethernet network, as opposed to simply responding to requests for information as a server does. This allows the controller to query an Allen-Bradley SLC 5/05, Opto-22 Snap I/O, DVT vision camera, or other 6Ks." Compumotor : Enter 567

RISC-processor punches up performance

Thanks to the short instruction-set length of its 32-bit RISC processor, Aromat's FP( (Sigma) consumes less overhead to execute its function set, according to Assistant Manager Gustavo Vargas. "The result is a PLC with super fast I/O processing speeds of 16 nanosec, that can perform several functions much faster than a standard CPU." With networking capabilities, built-in PID loop control, high-speed counter, and up to 100 kHz of pulse output, the compact (3.55 x 1.18 x 2.36 inch) FP( is suitable for motion control applications that require extensive communication. Three communication cassette options let engineers configure the PLC with either three RS232 ports, or one RS232 and one RS485 port. "You can network up to 99 units," explains Vargas. "Since it's a floating-master network, if one unit drops out or fails it won't bring down the whole network. The remaining units continue to send and receive data." Built-in flash ROM and comment memory reduce maintenance. "The Flash ROM eliminates battery replacement," Vargas explains, "and the comment memory allows engineers to install I/O comments together with the program in the main body rather than in a PC." Aromat Corp. : Enter 568

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