What do you get when you cross a PC and PLC?


PACs—a hybrid of personal computers (PCs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs)—can be considered an evolutionary step in the development of control options for industrial automation and other applications. PACs can include the same traits and handle the same functions.

PLC hardware architecture…
Vendor-specific software (firmware)
Deterministic multi-tasking real-time operating system
Industrial design PC hardware architecture…
Software (user-created)
General use (“open”) operating system
Can have an industrial design PCs, PLCs, and PACs each have…
Central processing unit
I/O communication bus for internal data exchange
Operating memory
Program/data memory
I/O modules
Communication interface


Read more from Control Engineering December “Back to Basics” column entitled, “ Programmable automation controllers (PACs) .” Watch for continuing coverage at www.controleng.com, in email newsletters and in print editions.

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief, with information from Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Control Engineering Poland , Institute of Control Engineering, Szczecin University of Technology

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