PLC Devices

PLC or Programmable Logic Controller devices play a critical role in the modern manufacturing processes. From managing product assembly lines to climate controlling to product packaging processes, the presence of PLCs has been deemed mandatory. With PLCs, manufacturing units are able to work more efficiently and this allows them to stay competitive against similar manufacturing units. Buyers of PLCs sometimes feel overwhelmed because they have a deluge of options to choose from. But by keeping some of the key elements in mind, you can easily make your choice of PLC device. Read buying guide

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Buying guide

Choosing your PLC device


Understand the PLC system

The objective that you have in mind regarding your PLC device should form the basis of your purchase. Different manufacturing units can have these devices customized as per their requirements. What you need to do is go through the details of PLC devices as much as you can so that you have a total understanding of the component parts. This is a much better way to understand the PLC system because, in its entirety, PLCs can confuse you.


Understand the way a PLC device works

Apart from understanding the individual PLC device parts, it is also important that you are able to understand the way this device works. When you go through the details, you will find that there are many common terminologies between computers and PLCs. For example, PLCs have their CPUs, memory and software applications. However, PLCs are used in the manufacturing industry. The job of a PLC device is to analyse the input and calculate how the output will be depending on the input. The moment you understand this basic function, you reach somewhere in your overall understanding of this device.


Durability is a major buying consideration

Because a PLC device works in the rugged world of manufacturing, durability is one of the major components in making your choice. Most of these devices have solid bodies and they can easily withstand the noise, the shakes and the higher temperatures inside manufacturing units. So, your job is to identify a PLC device that is able to manage its work in your manufacturing environment. Before you buy the device, it makes sense to identify a place within your factory where it can be safely accommodated.


Consider system compatibility

Compatibility is another factor to consider when you are in the process of selecting your PLC device. Different manufacturing domains use different systems for functioning and the PLC device has to be compatible with those systems. You need to take into account both the hardware and the software so that there are no issues with production. It is best to go through some of the more popular PLC models so that you buy the appropriate device for your unit.


Look for customized options

When you are in the process of buying a PLC device, find out if it can be customized for you. This ties in perfectly with the previous point so that you get what you want. A PLC device can be an expensive buy depending on your requirement and you don’t want to get into a trial and error mode. Once you buy your PLC device and install it, it should work the way you want it to. Communicating with the manufacturer or the seller is a good idea so that customization can be done the way you want it done.


Which PLC device for which use?


Speed is a major consideration when you buy a PLC device. Different PLC devices are able to operate in different speeds. For example, the NetComm powerline kit works at 600 Mbps and this is an ideal speed for many manufacturing units. If you are not able to make out what speed you should consider, letting an expert help you is not a bad idea at all. NetComm, by the way, is one of the major producers of PLC devices.


The size of the PLC device is also another point to take into account when you buy one. There are PLC devices that are large in size and there are those that can be powered up by attaching to a power outlet. For the most basic functions, a smaller device is good enough for you. The TP-LINK TL-PA211 device is an example of a small PLC device.


But of course, you cannot do with a small device with slower speed under certain circumstances. A larger device that can handle more input and output is required in most manufacturing conditions. There are some excellent devices that can be chosen in this regard. D-Link DHP-540 and Billion Bipac P108 are two devices that fall into this category.


And since we are talking of automated systems here, Wi-Fi cannot be ruled out as a convenient option. There are Wi-Fi-enabled PLC devices that don’t require you to use cables and wires for installation. A powerful enough PLC device with Wi-Fi facility is able to manage your work from a secure location. The TP-Link AV500 WiFi Powerline offers this facility. It operates at 300 Mbps.

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