At Turner Integrated Systems, we offer turnkey industrial controls systems for various industries and applications. We custom design and manufacture all of our systems to meet the customer’s unique requirements and restrictions in our UL-listed panel shop. One of our core offerings is PLC programming and implementation.
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are computers used for industrial automation operations, such as manufacturing, conveyance, or bottling systems. They are ruggedized to last in extreme conditions and can be built to varying degrees of complexity to accommodate anything from a single processor machine to an entire production line. Below, we provide an overview of how to design/select a PLC to serve as a helpful guide for existing and potential customers.
How to Design an Appropriate PLC System
PLCs play an essential role in many critical automated operations. As such, they must be designed carefully to ensure they operate and perform as needed; both the hardware and software components must be chosen with regard to the specific requirements and restrictions of the application.
In PLCs, the hardware components are the physical pieces that make up the system. The main hardware components are the processor (CPU), the memory, the input/output (I/O) interfaces, the communication interface, and the programming device. Some of the main factors to consider regarding hardware components are:
- Will this design adhere to existing PLC hardware standards?
- Does this design have a temperature rating that is within the normal operating temperature range?
- If the application occurs within a hazardous location, will this design be safe for use?
The main software components in PLCs are the operating system and the user program. Some of the considerations to keep in mind regarding software components are:
- Will this design allow for system servicing after commissioning?
- What are the licensing costs if a custom software needs to be developed?
- Does this design meet current integration requirements, and will it allow for future expansion?
How to Select the Right Components for PLC Systems
In addition to the above, other factors that should be considered when selecting components for a PLC include:
- Environmental requirements. While PLCs are ruggedized, certain conditions (e.g., dust, vibration, temperature, etc.) can affect their performance. It is important all of the components in the PLC are suitable for the environment in which they will be used.
- CPU speed. The processor or central processing unit (CPU) is the heart of the PLC. It handles all of the inputs/outputs and runs the PLC program. It should be fast enough to accommodate multiple I/Os and collect the data needed for the application.
- Communication protocol. PLCs can have many different communication ports or modules. It is essential to use a PLC with the elements needed to communicate with the desired devices or networks.
- Programming. The programming characteristics of PLC should be chosen to ensure easy development, troubleshooting, and maintenance.
- Safety/security. Safety and security should be top priorities when designing a PLC. Regarding safety, the PLC should have integrated safety functions to prevent failure or, if failure is unavoidable, ensure safe failure. Regarding security, any bugs or vulnerabilities should be identified and resolved quickly. Additionally, the system should have multiple layers of security to ensure secure communication. Working with the IT department during the planning stage can help avoid the need for equipment adjustments or add-ons in the future.
Choose Turner Integrated Systems for Quality PLC Solutions
PLCs can be difficult to design and built properly. Fortunately, the experts at Turner Integrated Systems are here to help! We specialize in the design, manufacture, and installation of control systems. We can help with PLC programming, implementation, maintenance, upgrades, and other control system needs. To learn more about our control system capabilities, contact us today.