A programmable logic controller (PLC) can be elaborated upon as an electronic appliance, primarily used across a host of industries to regulate and monitor building systems, production processes, and machine control. As opposed to PCs and smartphones, which perform multiple roles, a PLC is devised to carry out a single set of tasks, except with real-time constraints & with enhanced reliability and execution. All of this is propagated through a unique HMI (human machine interface).
To match the demands of hostile industrial environments, PLCs are designed to be extremely robust and sturdy, often capable of functioning under unfavourable conditions such as extreme temperatures, humidity, vibration, and noise. Its importance in machine control can be further elaborated on below:
Wind Turbine Operation
PLCs are being utilised to help make wind turbines more productive and experience negligible downtime. It’s essential for wind turbines to have the correct information regarding wind conditions in order to operate safely, as wind data is needed to register turbulence and safeguard the turbine. PLCs transform signals from wind speed and direction sensors to enable greater control over the wind turbines. The data transmitted from the PLCs are also used for statistical analysis to ensure that failures can be predicted before their occurence.
PLCs also play an imperative role in cement manufacturing. This function involves mixing and blending various raw materials and compounds in a kiln. A PLC program makes sure that the right quality and quantity of raw materials are used in this mixing process.
The Smart Factory
The production process has become easier and smoother thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent automation. Despite the swift changes in technology, PLCs continue to play a critical role in the manufacturing process, acting as a database for all real-time decisions. For instance, a PLC transmits data, including sensor performance and other data, that can be blended with cloud computing to show a comprehensive picture, i.e. a collection of “big data.” Analysis tools can then help managers to leverage resources, schedule jobs, carry out logistics, manage supplier timing, and other functions that are required to hone more efficient manufacturing functions.
Virtual modelling systems are required in order to create an accurate floor design or plan. By doing so, manufacturers can enhance their functions across their entire value chain, from design & engineering to sales, production, and service. PLCs are used in virtual modelling to simulate a new piece of equipment’s performance after installation, allowing manufacturers to make suitable adjustments for successful implementation at a negligible cost.