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PLC handbook

  • What is a PLC?

    What is a PLC?

    PLC Definition Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) are often defined as miniature industrial computers that contain hardware and software used to perform control functions. More specifically, a PLC would be used for the automation of industrial electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or food processing. They are designed for multiple … Read More

  • History of the PLC

    History of the PLC

    The PLC or Programmable Logic Controller has revolutionized the automation industry. Today PLCs can be found in everything from factory equipment to vending machines, but prior to New Year’s Day 1968 the programmable controller didn’t even exist. Instead what existed was a unique set of challenges that needed a solution. In order to understand the … Read More

  • PLC Hardware

    PLC Hardware

    What controls you? No, I’m not talking about your boss, your spouse or the government. Instead, think of your body as an industrial control system. Now, what controls you? Hopefully, you said your brain, although the heart is an acceptable answer sometimes. But for now, let’s focus on the brain and the nervous system as … Read More

  • PLC Software – Helpful features to look for

    PLC Software – Helpful features to look for

    One of the biggest factors in any PLC buying decision is the capability of the programming software. How easy is it to use? What does it offer? PLC hardware is only half of the equation, and who wants to buy a controller only to find out the software is lacking the basics? Been there, done … Read More

  • Ladder Logic Instructions – The Basics

    Ladder Logic Instructions – The Basics

    In Understanding Ladder Logic we touched on the origins of Ladder Logic, its structure and execution. So now that we have a understanding of what Ladder Logic is, we can dig a little deeper into how ladder instructions work. And to do that, we need to first understand Boolean math and logic gates. Now, this blog … Read More

  • Ladder Logic in Action

    Ladder Logic in Action

    Ladder logic programming for industrial controllers has evolved significantly over the past 30 years, and now supports advanced functionality such as process control, motion control, data manipulation, networking, and data acquisition. However, when you start with a blank page to design a new control system, large or small, there are many basic functions this tried-and-true … Read More

  • Methods Behind PID Loop Control

    Methods Behind PID Loop Control

    Lock your doors, board up the windows, and prepare yourself for a deeper look into PID loops! Now, if you are still here, great! If you ran out of the room screaming like I did, you can catch up later. For some, PID loops can be scary. After all, they are pretty complex and involve … Read More

  • PLC Communications – Coming of Age

    PLC Communications – Coming of Age

    PLC communications has grown and changed over the many years since the controller’s inception decades ago. Industrial needs and technological advances have kept PLC communications evolving, and this post will explore some past and present communication standards, and what the future may hold. PLC Partners in Communications PLCs need to communicate to a number of different … Read More

  • EtherNet/IP: Implicit vs. Explicit Messaging

    EtherNet/IP: Implicit vs. Explicit Messaging

    EtherNet/IP is younger than you and me, but still approaching maturity as it just reached its 15th birthday. Over the years, it has grown into an impressive industrial Ethernet communication network for connecting automation equipment, processes and machines. Keys to its success are the network and transport layers where explicit and implicit messaging takes place; … Read More

  • Motion Control Explained

    Motion Control Explained

    Motion control is generally understood to mean the use of servo and/or stepper systems as the “muscle” to move a given load. These motion control systems are capable of extremely precise speed, position, and torque control. Applications which require positioning of product, synchronization of separate elements, or rapid start/stop motion are all perfect candidates for … Read More

  • Portable Water Treatment Platform Removes Phosphorus Economically

    Portable Water Treatment Platform Removes Phosphorus Economically

    A trailer-mounted water treatment process controlled by a Productivity2000 PLC has recently been developed at the University of Idaho. Professor Greg Möller, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with engineers from the College of Engineering have teamed up to build the platform, and to further research the economical removal of phosphorus from various … Read More

  • What is Ladder Logic?

    What is Ladder Logic?

    PLCs have exploded in the controls market and are used throughout the world. Over time they have advanced to become more user friendly, efficient, smaller and less expensive. Different types of programming languages have also been developed for PLCs but the most frequently used is still Ladder Logic.     The Origins of Ladder Logic – … Read More

  • How to Choose a Controller

    How to Choose a Controller

    Choosing the most effective controller for your application depends on a number of factors. The worksheet below serves as a checklist of things to consider when determining programmable controller requirements. It lists the most important areas to consider when choosing a system, as well as provides space for recording determinations of your system needs. To … Read More