PLC - programmable logic controllers

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Controls can be found everywhere in our daily lives and are hardly noticeable to a certain extent. While we are driving a car, an extensive electronic process controls the most important areas. This applies to the ABS system as well as to the injection pump and the power windows. Traffic lights, digital advertising and street lights are all regulated by a control process as well. In all these examples, the control is the central piece; it sets the processes in motion and ensures that they run automatically. The controlled computers and machines are mostly regulated by the so-called PLC technology or PLC programming.

Advantages and disadvantages of the PLC compared to connection-oriented controllers.

The benefits of a PLC clearly outweigh those of connection-oriented controls:

  • They are more adjustable
  • Maintenance is seldom needed
  • Project planning is time-saving
  • Furthermore, a significantly smaller space is necessary with PLC
  • Documentation of your program runs automatically
  • A visualization is possible
  • Communication is possible via the fieldbus systems
  • Remote maintenance has become possible

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to this kind of control:

  • Specific technical knowledge is required for operation
  • High costs of software and hardware

A simple principle with a huge effect

PLC programming relies on the IPO principle: Input, processing and output. When inputting, it doesn't matter whether digital or analog pulses are used. Due to this, the control program takes a cyclical pattern. Using operating software, the control program is transmitted and processed to a corresponding computer. Processing in the storage area is relatively complicated and takes place in the CPU, the brain of a computer. With this simple principle, thanks to PLC programming and control of a simple, singular machine, all tasks, from complex systems to large processes, can be easily performed and controlled.

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Mariana Mellor
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