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Different Types of Programmable Logic Controllers
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A programmable logic control or PLC is a special purpose computer commonly used to serve different purposes in industrial and commercial settings. PLC is design to run automatic systems like robots, conveyor belts or other savvy machines and it uses the input and output for reading and sending data. Unlike personal computer systems, PLCs are rugged and can operate nearly nonstop. In this post, we’ll discuss a few types of programmable logic controllers.

Unitary PLC

Unitary programmable logic controller is a simple controller that contains all the basic components within a single box or housing. Typically, these components include the PLC processor which runs software program and ports for input connections and output connections. Unitary PLC is typically directly attached to the application or device that’s being controlled.

Micrologix 1000 is a common example of this type of PLC. Allan Bradley built this PLC and it features an on-board memory to store programs, 32-digital ports and a single communication port for programming the unit. Typically, most unitary PLCs have a similar system.

Modular PLC

There are several modules in this PLC that can easily be combined together for building a fully customized controller. Normally core functions like power regulation, input connections and computer processor are in the base module. Additional modules like analog signal to digital convertors or more outputs may be added to the core unit if required. The modular design makes it possible to customize and change PLC easily, when needed.

Micrologic 1200 is an example of this type of PLC. This unit can handle 23 to 40 inputs/outputs. Extra modules can be added to expand the available number of input/output connections. Modular PLCs tend to be more costly than unitary PLCs. They provide greater flexibility and freedom than unitary PLCs.

Rack Mounting

The concept of this PLC is quite similar to that of modular PLC. However it’s implemented differently. In a modular type, each model is connected directly to the modular base unit, but in rack mounting programmable logic controllers each module is kept separate. Extra modules, if required, can be connected through network and they are held separate from main unit in various racks. With this approach, large system can be built without becoming too complicated or overly cluttered. Modules are organized on racks and can easily be removed as needed and reinserted.

The SLC 500 unit is an example of this type of PLC. You can add as many modules as you want to this PLC system and each will be mounted on a rack chassis. This convenient setup allows building scalable and large automation solutions and is quite common in factories.

If you wish to buy these or other types of PLCs, check out our collection of PLCs. Let us know if you have any questions about our products.


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