Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are used by businesses around the world to automate their manufacturing processes to ensure accuracy, consistency and improved efficiency and safety.
PLCs were originally developed in the late 1960s by the US automotive industry to replace relay logic systems. These systems were difficult to update or alter the automation process due to being hard-wired. Any changes to the automation process, using relay logic, meant rewiring and updating documentation. Even a single misplaced wire or failed relay could render the the whole system faulty, making troubleshooting a time-consuming process.
In comparison, PLCs use a tiny computer that takes inputs from data capture points and human input points such as switches and buttons. Based on its programming, the PLC then decides whether or not to change the output. PLC outputs can control a wide range of equipment including motors, solenoid valves, lights, switchgear, safety shut offs and many more.
Advantages of PLCs
- Control & Automation
PLCs allow the automation of complex tasks such as managing production lines, regulating temperature and pressure, coordinating machinery, and controlling robotic systems.
PLCs provide precise and reliable control over your processes by monitoring various sensors and input signals and making logical decisions based on predefined programming.
- Flexibility & Adaptability
PLCs are easy to programme or reprogramme to accommodate changes in production requirements or process parameters. They allow for the integration of new devices or components without requiring extensive rewiring or hardware changes.
- Reliability & Fault Tolerance
PLCs offer support features such as backup power supplies, self-diagnostic capabilities and error handling techniques that help identify faults and minimise your downtime.
- Safety & Protection:
PLCs play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of personnel, equipment and processes. They can implement safety protocols, monitor critical parameters and trigger emergency shutdowns or alarms in the event of hazardous conditions.
- Data collection and analysis:
PLCs can gather and process real-time data from various sensors and devices within the control system. The data collected via PLCS can also work with other data collection systems to improve data analysis, reporting and optimisation.
The EAS team have extensive experience working on projects utilising PLCs. If you’re looking for assistance with installing or upgrading your processes with PLCs, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.