PLC software benefits for industrial manufacturers

Software-based programmable logic controllers (PLC) present numerous advantages over traditional hardware products and the addition of software systems enables greater productivity, detailed reporting for optimization and overall system flexibility.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) December 11, 2017

Software-based programmable logic controllers (PLC) present numerous advantages over traditional hardware products. As with many applications in the industrial sector today, the addition of software systems enables greater productivity, detailed reporting for optimization and overall system flexibility.

Many of these capabilities go directly against the traditional, physical production line concepts of manufacturing. Technology is bringing production into a new era. Likewise, the advantages of using a software-based PLC are significant. Networking is crucial for any organization, and in any given company, there may be several different types of networking systems.

One benefit of software-based PLCs is they facilitate simple integration of networking systems for easy communication. This opens the door for numerous productivity benefits and provides upper management with a simple platform where operations can be monitored.

Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaAnother major benefit of software-based PLCs is they provide safety and security advantages over hardware appliances. In traditional models, information is held within the system, and is vulnerable to unauthorized access and other risks. PLC software only gives information to those who are authorized and comes with more advanced security features. Software-based PLCs can also help cut production costs.

Input and output devices connected to the PC system use Ethernet cables. These are more cost effective than traditional PLC connections which had large connections and many applications. Ethernet cables are faster and increase the speed of the workflow.

There are many advantages of software-based PLCs, but the networking, safety, and cost benefits are some of the biggest and most immediate ones. Software-based PLCs bring productivity to just about any operation.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.