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The different faces of programmable logic controllers

Posted April 15, 2015

There are different types of programmable logic controllers in use in the manufacturing industry, and even in amusement park rides. Some of the different types include traditional programming, state logic, ladder logic, remote terminal units and human-machine interface. Most of the controllers are defined by the physical configuration of their hardware and the types of software or programming languages that were deployed.

The hardware of the typical programmable logic controller like Unitronics V1210 Black, available from All Drives and Controls, is built to withstand adverse environmental conditions.  The software is also created to be elastic and accommodate a variety of situations. Programmable logic controllers are mostly designed for manufacturing automation systems.

Traditional PLCs

These generally use standard computer languages like Basic to put in commands and maintain a system. This type generally needs a degree of human interaction. Traditional PLCs can however still be used in controlling relay-based systems or factory manufacturing processes that need to be flexible.

Remote terminal units

Remote terminal units are generally designed to provide a static function. They are normally used remotely and can provide a regular stream of data irrespective of unfriendly environmental or data-processing conditions. The systems are designed to work really well with regular human interaction. This makes them a better control system to use compared to most others.

Ladder logic PLCs

The most common type of PLC is the ladder logic. The ladder logic PLC features relay logic hardware that is usually automated and maintained with the aid of programmable logic.  They function with minimal human interaction. This is why this type of PLC is the one seen mostly in industrial systems. Ladder logic PLCs can be combined with different types of programmable controllers to create advanced systems.

Human-machine interfaces

Human-machine interfaces on their part combine different controllers to support both automation and regular human interaction. These systems may rely on input commands or provide data to users whenever it is requested. This type of PLC is generally more advanced than fully automated systems because various programming languages must be used if consistent interaction is to be achieved.

State logic controllers

State logic controllers are one of the most flexible types of PLC.  State logic PLCs are often used to assist with tasks that can change rapidly because they feature the building of computerised models of a real-world task. Programmable state logic controllers also allow the simulation of decision making. This is because the state of a program will change based on output and input data. Most types of programmable logic systems can also be modelled using state logic.

So that was a look at some of the types of PLC; vital technology in our factories, and even in our theme parks.

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