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Continued market growth is testament to the development of PLCs

29 November 2018

The PLC versus IPC or PC based control debate has been with us for over two decades now, with commentators making various predictions about the rise of industrial controllers with PC based internals versus purely PLC solutions. Yet according to the latest figures from Gambica the PLC market continues to grow. Mitsubishi Electric PLC Product Manager Hugh Tasker offers some thoughts on why.

Mitsubishi Electric is heavily invested in PLC technology with a massive installed base and a continuous stream of innovations being released to the market.

Indeed, it is interesting as part of the PLC versus IPC debate to note that there has been some blurring of the technologies, with each now incorporating some of the features of the other. From the PLC perspective, this includes everything from the inclusion of embedded web servers to the availability of plug-in PC modules such as Mitsubishi Electric's C-Controller. Other modules, such as Mitsubishi Electric's MES module, mean that PLCs can now link directly to higher level systems without the need for intermediate PC hardware. Furthermore, the combination of PLCs and HMIs means that PLC platforms can also provide a very PC-like environment for SCADA and other visualisation applications.

The latest generation of PLCs are also offering broader functionality such as embedded robot controllers with the related safety systems and aspects of AI that allow for flexible learning and intelligent decision making. Users are thus free to look at the most appropriate solution for a given application rather than being forced along either one route or the other because certain vital features and functions are missing. Even here it is interesting that the appeal of the PLC often endures and for many users there remain good reasons to stick with a purely PLC orientated approach.

Read the full article in the December issue of DPA



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