Commercial programmable logic controllers have become so mainstream and integral to automated industrial systems, they’ve acquired their own acronym – PLCs. The rise of PLCs began with their ever-growing ability to monitor and mastermind the operation of everything from single machines and processes to complex arrays of machines with equally complex processes.
The PLC rise has since continued and gone all but exponential as PLC options and costs have come down to meet an ever-growing market. Now there are PLC systems tailored to meet most production line complexities or industrial demands, not to mention most budgets.
A PLC is like the brain of an automation system that performs manufacturing operations and provides reliable control of automated industrial processes. PLC’s are used in many industries and for loads of applications including car wash systems, conveyor belt control systems, packaging and labelling systems and temperature control systems to name a few.
What is a programmable logic controller?While the ever-growing need for automation of all business processes will continue to throw up its moral dilemmas, the commercial realities are what they are. Programmable logic controllers drive your processes and keep your production running logically 24/7.
In its most simplistic form, a PLC can be likened to the conductor of an orchestra with all manner of instruments – woodwind, strings, percussion and brass – to coordinate into a cohesive concerto of sound. It’s the conductor’s job to trigger each section of the orchestra into action at precise moments in order for that concerto to make harmonic sense.
Replace the conductor with a PLC and the orchestra with a bunch of machines on a production line and the basic principle is the same. A PLC makes sure each of those machines jumps into action at the right time in order to produce a fully automated and highly precise end product. PLCs are basically digital devices containing pre-programmed memory designed to issue instructions to a suite of machines in a synchronized manner over and over.
A PLC will use either an operating system or a user program.
The cheapest is about $100 and the most expensive is around $570, but the average price for a programmable logic controller is a little over $280.
Without due care and attention, programmable logic controllers can become spectacularly illogical. The good news is that assessing any issues with a digitally intelligent device like a PLC is a lot easier than troubleshooting a tractor.
These are the main things that cause issues in PLCs:
PLC maintenance is ongoing and essential to ensure smooth operation and no production-killing hiccups.