A programmable logic controller (PLC) is an industrial computer that is widely used in industrial and civil control systems. PLC controller is chiefly a unique computer device equipped with a microprocessor. Its resilient construction enables it to withstand extreme industrial environments like high temperature and humidity levels, unexpected electrical fluctuations, and intense vibrations.
The distinct functionalities of a PLC controller include simplified programming, sequential control, user-friendly hardware, and dependable controlling efficiencies. These features make it an essential tool for automating a particular process, machine function, or the whole production line. A PLC controller can effectively monitor multiple inputs and outputs. It can execute automated operations through its string of switches that work in accordance with the program outputs. Real-world inputs can modify these program outputs. It is what makes it different from regular PCs and better fitted to the requirements of the industrial sector.
Why PLCs are used extensively for industrial settings
Execution of task
PCs and mobile devices are constructed to carry out multiple roles at the same time. In contrast, a programmable logic controller executes only a single of tasks but with better reliability without any Windows limitation and requires little maintenance.
A regular PC does not have features protecting it from environmental conditions like heat, cold, and dust. A PLC controller, on the other hand, has a lot of built-features through which it can easily survive an industry’s rugged conditions.
The limited functionality and dedicated operating system of PLC make them better immune to malware attacks.
A PLC is cheaper than a PC. Its use in applications requires only a replacement of software components. It can be compared with other systems that require a hardware component replacement with different applications.
Applications of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC):
Automation has become crucial in industries today. The capacity of a PLC controller to operate uninterruptedly amid tough environments inherent to industries makes it an invaluable asset. The automobile and equipment manufacturing industries have particularly benefited from PLC in this regard. PLCs allow manufacturers to work smarter and faster. Automated processes minimize the occurrence of bottlenecks which reduces expenses in operation and production time. The greater accuracy and repetition of tasks enable streamlined workflows.
When industrial PCs are integrated with automated software, they can work for long hours in any kind of industrial setup. A PLC is used in almost every phase of the manufacturing process.
Industrial computers facilitate both onsite and off-site asset tracking with incredible efficiency and precision. This is why they are widely used in industries like healthcare and retail.
Simulation and visualization of outcomes
Visualization and simulation help in the effective testing of devices and production processes. A PLC is fully capable of simulation and generating visualizations of possible results. It makes it a necessary system to be used in industries like mining, geology, and mechanics.
Safety of employees
Maintaining employee safety is of the utmost importance in an often unpredictable manufacturing workplace. PLC automation can be employed for setting alerts for employees to disinfect machinery at regular intervals. The reminders can be sent every time IoT sensors report the machinery operation or after its usage.
Advantages of PLC controller for industries:
Computers are the lifeline of modern industries. They manage everything from automation to networking. To fulfill the distinct needs of industries, practical control system solutions need to be put in place. It is often difficult for regular computers to meet industrial requirements. That is where a PLC proves useful.
Easy to troubleshoot and operate
A PLC has multiple outputs that make it easier for them to resolve errors. It is user-friendly and easy to operate. Its functions are more consistent and reliable. It leaves no room for timing error and hence is the best option for industries.
Robust and rugged
A PLC’s processing power is on par with a regular computer. But it is less fragile and is designed to withstand the harsh industrial conditions. PLC thus proves to be a safe and secure choice for manufacturers as it is less prone to damage.
As opposed to a custom software development, PLC is way cheaper and affordable. It is also more efficient and can be relied upon for its errorless functioning. This makes it a valuable asset for industrial manufacturers.
PLCs are thus an essential component in manufacturing units and are capable of performing an array of tasks. They assist in the effective running of dynamic automation software. PLCs also regulate complicated applications like data acquisition, logistics system, etc. with higher speed and reliability. Due to the presence of a highly specialized operating system, PLC is often termed as the robot in the manufacturing and production industries.
Manufacturers in a wide variety of industries like the travel industry, glass industry, steel industry, automotive industry, chemical, and energy industry seek the services of a suitable PLC programming company to support their operations.
Usage of PLC in industrial applications
Glass and cement industry
PLC is used for operations like regulating material ratio, processing flat glasses, etc. Functions like position control and digital quality control are also carried out by it. In the cement industry, PLC is used to attain precise data of process variables for the production of high-quality cement.
Here PLC is used to control and monitor machines that manufacture paper at very high speeds, e.g. the production of pages of a book and newspapers.
It is used to monitor the safety control system, lift operation, and escalator system.
There is the widespread use of PLC in four major automotive processes of welding, stamping, painting, and assembly.
As can be seen from above, They form the core of industrial machine learning processes. Machine builders are increasingly utilizing the expertise of PLC programming company engineers in every aspect of industrial automation. PLCs offer the most sophisticated industry computing system. Manufacturers today should realize their significance and facilitate a smooth integration of PLCs into their applications.