Selecting ‘Smart’: Choosing a Programmable Logic Controllers Vendor

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5 Things You Must Consider When Choosing a PLC Vendor

Automation

Selecting ‘Smart’: Choosing a Programmable Logic Controllers Vendor
Selecting ‘Smart’: Choosing a Programmable Logic Controllers Vendor

Unitronics offers a wide range of programmable controllers that helps customers in choosing the right product based on their specific needs. Selecting the manufacturer that stands behind a brand of controllers is a major decision. It is every bit as important as your CPU and I/O requirements.

Here are 5 factors to consider when making that selection:

1. The PLC: Broad Range of PLCs

Your selected brand must have a complete, full product range that can meet the requirements of your customers. PLCs, for example, must be able to supply sufficient memory to support I/O, log and manipulate historical data, as well as execute the control program. Where execution speed is critical, the CPU processing speed must be considered as well. 

What are your sector’s standards? Do your applications need to comply with hazardous environment standards, CFR-21.11, or the spray-and-wipe standards of the food and beverage industry?

Influenced by the mobile industry, customers expect HMI color touch-panels to provide the communication window between operator and system. In cases where space is at a premium, PLC + HMI all-in-one controllers have a distinct advantage. Some PLC manufacturers provide PLC + HMI programmable controllers with built-in or snap-on I/O modules, which, in addition to saving space, also greatly reduce wiring.

2. Communications: Data Communication & More

Flexibility is key—the more protocols your selected brand of PLCs supports, the better you can support interoperability with existing applications and third-party devices.

Important industrial datacom protocols include MODBUS, CANopen and other flavors of CANbus such as CAN Layer2 and EtherNetIP. Some brands also support protocols such as SNMP and FTP.

Check to see if your PLC manufacturer provides software utilities that enable you to implement proprietary third-party datacom protocols, whether serial RS232/485 or TCP/IP.

You can also bene­t your customers by increasing the visibility of operating data and diagnostic information. Web Server — the ability to access a PLC via web browser — and VNC support, are excellent methods of remotely accessing a PLC, while SMS messaging and email are very handy for notification via mobile.

3. Programming: Look for Intelligent Software

Saving time is the primary benefit of intelligently designed software. There are two particularly important factors to consider:

  • Ease of use - ergonomic design means that you do not need to search for elements when programming. In addition, logical, consistent construction saves time, since the programmer intuitively knows what to do even when programming a particular task for the first time.
  • Re-usability - insist on it. Whether you are programming Ladder or C functions, designing HMI screens and Web pages, or creating custom controls, the ability to re-use your work across projects will save big chunks of time.

4. Maintenance: Service and Support

Look for PLC manufacturers that offer a high level of customer care. Make certain that support, whether technical or sales, is easily available and prompt. Personal support –meaning from people, not automated systems, that is available 24/7 is extremely valuable. This is what can make the difference in meeting your deadlines and retaining your own customers.

“The best things in life are free” – select a company that provides support and documentation at no additional charge.

5. Cost: Total Cost of Ownership

Cost is not limited to the actual cash you pay to purchase the PLC. Your development costs and future maintenance costs can make or break your profit margin.

Therefore, when you purchase a PLC, remember that you are also selecting the company that stands behind that PLC— and that this decision, over the long run, can have a major impact on your success in industrial automation projects.

 

For further information: www.unitronicsplc.com

Posted on March 19, 2019 - (2387 views)
Unitronics
Unitronics Building
7019900 - Israel
+972-3-9778888
+972-3-9778877
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Description

ONE INTEGRATED SOLUTION FOR CONTROL & AUTOMATION

Unitronics designs, manufactures, and markets advanced control and automation solutions. Our extensive offering includes a complete line of PLCs with integrated HMI, full line of VFDs, AC Servo Drives & Motors, a broad array of I/Os and complementary devices, as well as programming software for all aspects of control, motion, HMI, and communications. Unitronics PLCs range from micro-PLC + HMI units for simple machine control, to complex controllers with advanced functions, a variety of onboard IOs and multiple communication options – including support for Industry 4.0 (smart factory) technology.

Easy to use, efficient, and affordable, our products have been automating processes, systems and standalone applications since 1989. Today, our field-proven products automate over 1 million installations in diverse fields, including petrochemicals, automotive, food processing, plastics & textiles, energy & environment, water & waste water management – anywhere automated processes are required.

Unitronics is represented by more than 180 distributors in over 60 countries around the globe, providing our customers with local support in their local languages.

www.unitronics.com

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