The number of controllers available in the market are almost as many as the number of applications in which they are used. Most controllers are application independent and can be used for more than one purpose. So which one would you choose? A PLC, a PAC, a DCS or a IPC? Names are of little importance when compared to the functionality of a device.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have standardized and almost perfected a charade that involves the use of programmable automation controller, distributed input/output, a touchscreen operator interface and features such as data logging and charting to achieve automation. Today, companies are looking out for architectures that would help them instill “smartness” in their plants and be a part of the major industrial revolutions that are just around the corner.
When wiring motor starters, contactors and pilot devices, paying attention to the resources being delegated through intelligent planning can do wonders.
Modern concepts & technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 & Smart Factory are upon us. Consumers & enterprises are moving towards devices that would enable them to use these technologies, and compete in a tighter market. But what exactly sits at the core of all these technologies, and what exactly drives them to increase industrial throughput? The answer is simple: Data.
A bright sunny day for you may be a disaster in the making for your VFDs. Air conditioning systems are installed to ensure that machinery such as drives, panels, etc. run within the optimum temperature range. But if the temperature surpasses expected levels, things can go wrong very quickly. Heat dissipation is often overlooked in the case of VFDs or AC drives, leading to devastating downtime. Keeping into account a few factors can greatly help keeping the energy dissipation in check, and reduce the risks of unexpected shutdowns.
The PLC Evolution
Dick Morley introduced the industrial world to the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a tool that would revolutionize the automation landscape for decades to come. The PLC was seen as a savior in the industrial world, which relied heavily on switch gears and relay boxes for routine activities. The PLC has room for evolution unlink any other automotive device which has made it so susceptible to changing technological standards.
Pumping systems are widely used in a number of industries from mining to petroleum to manufacturing. These systems account for nearly 20% of the world’s energy used by electric motors! A minute dip in their efficiency can put great financial strain on the entire system and risk the machines’ life. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has published a comprehensive list of standards that can help assess the efficiency of pumping systems.
The protection of individual I/O points is as important as the protection of any other control device. The use of fuses is one of the most fundamental decisions that needs to be taken by a protection engineer to ensure maximum safety as well as uptime for industrial assets.
Circuit breakers and fuses are two of the most widely-accepted types of protection. While circuit breakers have the benefit of reusability, the quicker operation of fuses make them an appropriate choice for I/O protection. In addition, fuses are better at blocking let-through energy, providing better protection for downstream devices. Therefore, wherever quickness is a priority, fuses should be preferred over other modes of protection.
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) have been around for over 50 years and have established themselves as the preferred hardware for industrial automation. Several competitors have come along the way in the form of PCs, microcontrollers, etc. but none have been able to dent the reputation of the PLC.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a century old consulting and certification company that is known throughout the world for its stringent levels of certification for electrical devices and components. Industries such as manufacturing, mining, energy, etc. need to follow a certification system for the equipment they procure to make sure their property and personnel are out of harm’s way. Out of the several UL standards that exist, company's that provide electrical components should be UL508A certified.