Understanding automation selection criteria

Understanding how the programmable logic controller (PLC) has evolved and how it relates to more modern incarnations like the PAC as well as understanding servo system criteria will help a great deal on the plant floor.

06/09/2015


When Dick Morley introduced the programmable logic controller (PLC) in 1968, I wonder if he envisioned how much it would evolve in 47 years. This evolution brought about changes in PLC form factor, functionality, and how PLCs are programmed. In 2001, market research firm ARC introduced the term "programmable automation controller (PAC)" to describe the marked shift in technology behind the ever-evolving PLC.

In this issue's cover story, the author explains the similarities and differences between PLCs and PACs, noting that "PLC-based PAC" is perhaps a better term to describe their convergence-the lines between them is blurring. "Today, it's difficult to find an industrial controller that doesn't display many of the characteristics that might be found in either a PLC or a PAC." There are similarities and differences between them. And, according to the author, the PLC-based PAC is intended to leverage the similarities and minimize the differences. He points out that users should select a controller based on the requirements of the application and not on what it's called.

The other story in this issue examines servo system selection criteria. The authors emphasize that servomotors—and the systems that control them—are not created equal. Servomotors with the same power range from different manufacturers are not necessarily equivalent. Technical aspects, such as torque, inertia, resolution, frequency response, and bandwidth determine servo system performance. In addition to providing a brief servo tutorial, the authors explain why these technical factors must be considered when selecting a servo system. As the authors state in the article, "Servo system selection criteria involves more than just wattage and price."

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering

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Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

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Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
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This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
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This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
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Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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