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Latest News / January 2023 / Beckhoff System Replacement on Carriage Wash Plant

Beckhoff System Replacement on Carriage Wash Plant

We recently swapped a PC based PLC (Beckhoff TwinCAT CX) with a traditonal PLC (Mitsubishi Q Series). The Beckhoff CX has a PC based SCADA system and this was also replaced with a GOT2000 series HMI. There wasn't any issues with the Beckhoff CX so this begs the question, 'Why?'.  In this article, we will discuss the benefits of traditional PLCs over PC-based PLCs and sheds some light on why the client, Network Ral, chose this for this relativley new Carriage Wash Machine.

  1. Reliability: Traditional PLCs are designed to operate continuously in harsh industrial environments. They are built with robust hardware and firmware to withstand the extreme temperatures, dust, and vibrations that are common in manufacturing plants. In contrast, PC-based PLCs are vulnerable to hardware and software failures, which can lead to downtime and costly repairs.

  2. Real-time processing: Traditional PLCs have dedicated processors that are optimized for real-time processing. They are capable of executing complex control algorithms and communication protocols in real-time, ensuring that the manufacturing process is running smoothly and efficiently. PC-based PLCs, on the other hand, rely on the performance of the operating system and hardware, which can cause delays and processing errors.

  3. Security: Traditional PLCs have built-in security features that protect the system from unauthorized access and tampering. They have limited connectivity options and are not susceptible to viruses and malware. In contrast, PC-based PLCs are connected to the network and the internet, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

  4. Cost-effectiveness: Traditional PLCs are generally more cost-effective than PC-based PLCs. They have a lower initial cost and require less maintenance over their lifetime. PC-based PLCs, on the other hand, require a higher initial investment and regular software updates, which can be costly.

  5. Easy to use: Traditional PLCs are designed with a simple and intuitive user interface, making them easy to use and program. They have a limited set of programming languages that are easy to learn and understand. PC-based PLCs, on the other hand, require more advanced programming skills and knowledge of multiple programming languages.

In conclusion, while PC-based PLCs offer some advantages over traditional PLCs, such as flexibility and advanced programming capabilities, traditional PLCs are still the preferred choice for industrial automation systems due to their reliability, real-time processing, security, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. It's important to consider the specific requirements of the manufacturing process when choosing between traditional and PC-based PLCs.

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