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What is a programmable logic controller?

Tom Cash · 01 September 2020

A programmable logic controller, commonly known as a PLC, is a special computer designed and adapted for the automation and control of industrial processes.

Siemens S7 300 PLC

You would typically find a PLC on the production line in industries such as pharmaceuticals, automotive and packaging.

At its core, a PLC is made up of three components:

Inputs

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Outputs

For example, a button (input) is pressed → the PLC's CPU interprets and translates the data → an AC motor (output) powers up.

However, this is a very simple example and PLCs are often used to perform more complex functions, such as monitoring the flow of water in a water treatment facility by working in unison with other hardware such as flow-sensors, variable-speed drives and AC motors.

Schneider PLC connectivity

Aside from allowing devices to communicate and control each other, PLCs are also great for reducing material waste, machine wear, maintenance and plant noise levels.

You might also implement a PLC if you are looking to meet your environmental goals, improve process throughput and reliability or introduce industry 4.0/IoT compatible devices into your processes.

At Foxmere we support, sell and repair PLC equipment for a number of key brands, including Siemens, Schneider and Allen-Bradley.

So, if you want to know more about PLCs or if you are simply looking to purchase, please contact one of our team members on +44 (0)1922 349 999. 

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