Mitsubishi Electric has expanded its iQ range of PLCs with the compact MELSEC iQ-F series, building on the legacy of the market-leading FX platform and broadening the range of available applications with a comprehensive set of "built-in" functions. Sharing many of its features and concepts with other iQ PLCs, the iQ-F series provides all of the benefits that users have come to appreciate in the well-known compact FX series but with more unified interconnectivity with other iQ models, a unified programming environment and a much improved user experience.
The first model in the iQ-F series is the FX5U, offering high performance in a compact, cost effective package. Tsuiko Shibagaki, European Business Development Manager for compact PLCs comments: "The FX5U continues the FX tradition of total flexibility with a huge range of new and existing add-on options which further enhance the built-in functions of Ethernet, analogue I/O, position control, security, communications and networking functions incorporated as standard. The FX5U will provide users with the ability to specify more powerful systems but with fewer overall components, saving time and cost."
The FX5U supports the user with functions which to date have only been available on larger PLCs, such as motion control and sophisticated security features. For example, the 4-axis simple motion module brings advanced motion control in an easy to use format for applications such as food and beverage packaging, providing features such as torque control and circular interpolation.
With security being a key issue today, the FX5U provides comprehensive security features to protect both the developer's intellectual property and the final installation. Each PLC can have a security 'key' that allows users to easily manage access to both software and hardware.
All of this functionality is combined with a processing speed of 34ns per instruction. MELSEC iQ-F realises high-speed system bus communication at speeds of 1.5 k words/ms and achieves maximum performance even when using the intelligent function module with large amounts of data. The result is a platform that allows users, especially machine builders, to standardise on the FX5U in a host of applications that would previously have required much larger and more costly PLCs.
The FX5U is programmed using the new GX Works3 software which provides an intuitive, graphical, structured programming environment. GX Works3 offers a wide range of programming options including dynamic labels, parameterisation instead of programming and reduced development time with the FB module (Function Block). GX Works3 utilises drag-and-drop hardware and software configuration, which can drastically reduce the overall configuration time, whilst the intuitive approach to programming reduces development time and costs.
The new MELSEC iQ-F Series reaches new applications thanks to its high-speed system bus, extensive built-in functions and network support.
The FX5U is the first PLC to be released in the iQ-F series, which will extend over the coming years offering even more choice in the compact PLC range.