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High-speed counting module for PLC offers enhanced control of rotating machinery applications

15 January 2007

ABB’s new DC-541 multifunction module for its AC500 PLC offers a flexible device enabling operators of high-speed rotating machinery to optimise efficiency. Capable of measuring machinery speeds of up to 50kHz, the DC-541 can be used as an interrupt module and a high speed counting module for 24V signals. Incorporating digital inputs and outputs in a single device, the DC-541 features eight channels which can be configured to operate as either inputs or outputs and individual or combined counting functionality

For interrupt applications, the module’s eight channels can be configured as either interrupt inputs or PWM pulse train outputs or a combination of the two. It can be configured to monitor up to eight pieces of rotating machinery, depending on the application.

For instance, if the module detects that machinery is running at the wrong speed, it can signal the AC500 which can then use the module’s digital outputs to transmit a high-speed signal to correct the speed of the machinery to its new setting. This same function can also be used to regulate machinery at slower speeds too, particularly useful applications include automated picking and packing applications, where accurate control of speeds is essential.

In high speed counting mode, the DC-541 module can be used for high frequency counting jobs up to 50kHz. Again, the device’s eight channels can be configured to measure rotational speed, time and frequencies of 50kHz, 5kHz or 2.5kHz either separately or as a combination.

To optimise accuracy, the module can automatically calculate whether to measure the time elapsed between two pulses or to count the pulses per time unit. With resolutions of 50, 100 or 200 microseconds, the DC-541’s interrupt function provides plant operators with precise data which can be used to optimise rotating machinery efficiency.

The DC-541 module’s ‘plug and play’ technology enables it to be added to an AC500 already in operation. It can be readily configured using the AC500’s Control Builder (CoDeSys standard) programming software, with users just needing to integrate either the ‘interrupt’ or ‘high speed counter’ component into their application program. Instructions for the module can be added to any programs already installed.

The DC-541 is available through ABB’s Strategic Industrial Partner (SIP) industrial wholesaler distribution network ( For further information on the DC-541 please contact ABB on 0800 269371, or email ref. DC-541.

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