We have to start by saying that the industry involved programmable logic controllers is growing at least twenty percent on an annual basis.
However, the general population does not know anything about it because these computers are conventional for manufacturing and production plants.
Their main goal is to control various tasks during the automation process, which is essential for a more efficient product than others in numerous industries are across the world.
When compared with other devices used for industrial applications, you should know that industrial PCs are also popular and can handle numerous assignments as well.
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Generally, a programmable logic controller is a microcomputer that can handle one application without any additional hassle and problem along the way.
Of course, personal computers can handle numerous applications at the same time, but they are more complex and have less efficiency than PLCs.
Remember that in large industries that require 24/7 manufacturing processes such as the automotive industry, downtime on the production line comes with a great expense that reaches fifteen thousand dollars per minute.
Small problems that seem trivial can cause severe expenses. That is why most plants need a device that will reduce the issues, prevent downtime, and handle repetitive tasks with perfect precision.
Another important consideration is that in some businesses, a single millisecond can lead to multi-million loss or severe accidents to employees.
The precision production process requires a robust machine that can handle the industrial environment without crashing or causing issues for the company. Therefore, you will need a device that will handle the same job based on the intervals all the time.
At the same time, you will need a device that has a low possibility of failing, especially when compared with industrial personal computers. That is the main reason why you should consider getting a programmable logic controller to deal with all issues along the way.
Programmable Logic Controller vs. Industrial Personal Computer
Back in the day, the differences between hardware used for both IPC and PLC were the same. They featured a similar configuration and included processor, motherboard, expansion slots, and memory inside.
Even though they feature similar hardware configuration, they worked utterly different. Remember that personal computers are idle and vain, which means that they are waiting for your command to handle everything you want.
At the same time, they tend to react much slower than PLCs, especially when you give them to order via mouse or keyboard, and they will pause the process they are currently doing to respond, which is a recipe for disaster.
These hiccups can lead to severe expenses and production downtime, which is something you do not need in your plant.
On the other hand, having a programmable logic controller means that you will get flawless and effortless processes that will not cause downtime and hiccups, similarly to IPCs.
They feature both hardware and software that can handle severe industrial issues, including overheating and other potential physical matters without affecting the production line.
Only the problematic situations, including earthquakes or natural disasters, can distract them from handling the operations you implemented beforehand.
The question we wish to ask ourselves is whether programmable logic controller and industrial personal computer will converge. According to experts from different industries, that will happen in the future, but we have to be patient.
Generally, they come with technical differences, and even though high-end industrial PCs can handle some basic automation tasks, the problems persist.
The first advancement that happened to both devices is miniaturization because high-end programmable logic controllers are compact and fit into a coffee vending machine, among other things.
At the same time, the architecture of PLCs uses open design, which is much more restrictive than the ones made beforehand. However, they feature fantastic tolerance to third-party plug-ins, which is another crucial consideration you should remember.
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You can expect that the price of programmable logic controllers will start falling, especially for standard ones. Of course, you will still be able to find the high-end models that feature the ability to control large applications such as PACs.
Benefits of Programmable Logic Controllers
- Compact Design – It is essential to understand that programmable logic controllers are highly compact when compared with other machines and devices. Their main goal at first was to replace physical relay systems that were problematic to handle, and today, you can find the high-end ones that fit into a coffee vending machine.
- Exceptional Reliability and Durability – You should know that they feature enough strength to handle any industrial situation, including overheating and too much humidity, among other things. Therefore, when compared with industrial PCs, the chances for damage or defect are minimal.
- Economical – Of course, you have to spare an initial investment to get it. Still, generally, these machines are inexpensive because you will be able to reduce the chances of downtime and improve the overall efficiency and productivity of your plant. Apart from that, they do not require constant maintenance so that you can use them for years after purchase without any additional problem.
- Energy-Efficient – You should know that the overall power consumption consumes only one-tenth when compared with physical relay automation control. Therefore, you will save additional expenses on electricity and other bills you need to pay.
- Flexibility – The idea is that you do not have to rewire it during the working process, which is why you will be able to rest assured. It can easily handle complex functions, including comparing, counting, arithmetic operations, time delay generation, and many more. Since it comes with complete flexibility and high processing speed for both digital and analog processes, you will be able to implement numerous applications and control them at the same time.
- Industrial Efficiency – Another important consideration is that you will be able to construct a controller with independent programs so that you can change it along the way. It is much more efficient than other automation control devices, which will provide you peace of mind during its performance.