Virtualization, Cloud, Analytics
Benefits of using PC technology for machine and process control have been extolled for some time. Vendors have responded with many new products—both hardware and software. Even though sales of PC-based control products for manufacturing have not grown rapidly, there are many success stories showing what the technology can deliver.
New Java applications and more support for Microsoft Windows CE as an embedded operating system were highlighted at the recent Embedded Systems Conference here. Support for embedded Web servers, networking support, development tools, more products for the CompactPCI platform and a new platform, PCMIP, were also unveiled.
If software is washing over the control and automation landscape, then object-oriented programming is riding the crest of that wave. Several object-oriented trailblazers exhibited at ISA Expo/98.
Like a surfer seeking that perfect wave, today's control engineers are searching for the "technology wave" to take their process control systems into the next millennium, and meet mounting information technology (IT) challenges. Control engineers sometimes face their corporate IT counterparts across a chasm of incompatible requirements.
Will that personal computer (PC) on your desk be controlling the next machine installed in your factory? Some say, "Yes, the PLC is dead as a control platform." To others, the PLC is not dead, it is morphing.At times this discussion sounds like a religious debate. But users need not be locked into an either/or decision about the future control platform for their factories.
Personal-computer-based control is one of the fastest growing segments in machine control for monitoring a process and for discrete logic control of processes, such as material handling, machining, grinding, or gaging.Development of Windows NT by Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.) enabled PC-based real-time machine control to become reality.
KEY WORDS PC-based control Machine control Software for control Flowchart programming Simulation Imagine a product design, completed in software, and rendered in 3-D graphics. This rendering allows designers to strip away layers to view and work on components underneath. Next, manufacturing engineers can design the machines, fixtures, and processes required to produce components and completed ...