Logical step forward for PLCs

The size and quantity of PLCs required for many shopfloor environments these days means that size and space can become real issues

Problem: , especially if the user is looking to reduce the number of control panels or cabinets at the plant. And coupled with the growing trend towards distributed intelligence and the fact that manufacturers want more 'IT functionality', networking communications and remote diagnostics within PLCs so that they can react much faster to problems on the shopfloor, PLC designers are having a challenging time at present. Solution: Innovation in the world of PLCs is pretty rare these days, but some PLC manufacturers are making small innovations to get their noses ahead of the competition. Looking more like the latest miniature CD stereo system, Moeller Electric's new XC600 PLC is a sexy-looking aluminium modular unit designed for fast, complex automation, machine control or panel building tasks. An integrated Ethernet interface and built-in OPC server enable the PLC functions to 'talk' to IT operations such as data acquisition systems, service plant and management applications. Up to three network modules can be inserted and peripheral equipment can be directly plugged in via the XI/OC or XI/ON I/O systems or coupled via fieldbus networks such as Profibus DP or CANopen. The XC600 also has web connectivity and so device programming and process status can be effected via the Internet. The real innovation with the XC600 comes from the fact that it has its own IP address, which enables users to log directly onto the PLC from a remote location to access data and re-program the controller. Programming is done using Moeller's XSoft software that controls configuration, testing, commissioning and visualisation. And rather than assemble the power supply, CPU and I/O modules along a DIN rail, the XC600 builds units out from a base module using convex curved modules. The units can be attached and removed without tools and save valuable panel space. And because of its aluminium construction, the unit dissipates heat faster than conventional PLCs. Applications: Any panel building or machine control application that requires a space-saving, high-performance PLC with remote re-programming capability will benefit from this new design. DP