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Compact Integrated Automation Solutions Reduce Size of Controls Package, CostsCompact Integrated Automation Solutions Reduce Size of Controls Package, Costs

DN Staff

June 15, 2009

2 Min Read
Compact Integrated Automation Solutions Reduce Size of Controls Package, Costs

The trend toward ultra-compact, integrated automation is driven by supplier efforts to reduce the size of the controls package and deliver lower costs. The key to these products is highly engineered interfaces and software tools that combine to offer elegant, lower cost solutions for interfacing servo drives, I/O, operator interfaces and other networked devices.

Using an integrated approach allows motion, logic and visualization tasks to run from a single processor and runtime system. And since many larger machines today utilize decentralized I/O points distributed throughout the machine, network interfaces can provide connectivity and a method for coordinating I/O systems, servo drives and distributed HMIs. Software tasks can be more easily developed allowing variables from various devices to be directly integrated into operator interface screens.


The APC820 from B&R Automation provides high-performance Core(TM)2 Duo processors and a unique approach to automation and visualization systems. With this architecture, Windows XP and the real-time operating system run parallel to each other on separate processor cores, and users can reserve a processor core exclusively for real-time tasks or release it for Windows so the available computing power from both cores is optimally used. The APC820 offers a built-in Ethernet Powerlink interface, providing support for ACOPOS servo drives and I/O bus couplers, plus a CAN interface. Using the integrated Smart Display Link, up to four automation panels can be connected over a distance of up to 160m. Motion, logic and operator interface tasks can be coordinated from a single processor and runtime system.


OMRON's new CP1E CPU units are in response to demand for advanced functionality in micro PLCs with 10 to 200 I/O points for small-scale control applications use. These units offer minimal functionality and target price reduction. Features include a USB port on all models, I/O indicators to check ON/OFF status at a glance and smart inputs for the CP1E programming device. N-type units incorporate a serial port for connection with programmable terminals, and a pulse I/O function for position control. They provide six high-speed counters and two 100-kHz pulse outputs.


The new ILC 170 ETH 2TX controller from Phoenix Contact features two Ethernet ports, allowing easier networking for small applications. The Ethernet ports come with a built-in Ethernet switch that can eliminate the need for a separate Ethernet switch, and make it easier to daisy-chain multiple controllers. Eight digital inputs and four digital outputs (500 mA) are integrated on-board and can be expanded directly by adding inline I/O modules. The controllers are programmed with PC WorX Express, a free programming tool that supports up to 4,096 I/O points, and support Modbus TCP for data exchange to any Modbus TCP-capable device. Optional SD card memory simplifies program transfer between controllers, and coordinates with onboard data and program memory (512 KB), plus retentive memory (48 KB).

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