Today in 'My Automation Education' we are going to talk about programmable logic controllers. According to Wikipedia, a programmable logic controller (PLC) or programmable controller is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures. PLCs are used in many industries and machines. Unlike general-purpose computers, the PLC is designed for multiple inputs and output arrangements, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. Programmable logic relays (also called intelligent relays, smart relays, smart logic relays and PLR's) replace timers, relays, counters, analog counters, inputs and outputs into one compact device.
PLC's are similar to drives but with more capabilities. Where drives are strictly meant for motors, PLCs can pair with various devices. Drives are meant to control basics like on/off and faster/slower. PLCs take a programmed input and "think" what the next step should be (i.e. if this happens, then do that). This is where the logic comes into play. PLCs open up a whole new world of automated possibilities that drives or machines alone would not be able to perform.
Marshall Wolf Automation, your full-line industrial automation distributor, carries numerous PLCs from IDEC, Delta, and Autonics. Check out our website or speak with our great tech team to find the correct drive for your application.