Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are a mainstay of panel building and automation for a reason. This adaptable technology has evolved since its inception in the 1960s to perform an ever-increasing amount of complex automation and electrical control.
With more options and functionality than ever before, choosing the right PLC can be a difficult task. There are three core factors to selecting the most effective PLC for your application:
Selecting the Hardware and Configuration
Start with evaluating the number and types of inputs and outputs your application will require. This crucial step determines the physical size and configuration of your PLC not only for your current application, but for your possible needs in the future as well.
Map out the number of Digital or Analog I/Os (Inputs and Outputs) and determine whether you’ll need local or remote I/Os. The biggest challenge at this phase can be designing room for growth, especially in a PLC panel.
Think about how your PLC will communicate: remotely, through Ethernet, or another medium? Some PLCs are flexible with communication ports that can be modified or changed out, but with most options you'll need a strong understanding of communication functionality before specifying.
Programming Your PLC
Just as you did with the hardware, consider the long-term capabilities of your PLC’s programming. If you want to gather production data for OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) or other efficiency measures, you’ll need a PLC with enough memory and processing speed to account for the I/Os, alarms, communication, historical data – and then some, to create margins for program additions in the future.
The ease or difficulty of programming your PLC also impacts the initial price tag and your overall cost of maintenance and upgrades. PLC programming should be selected not only for accessibility, but adaptability over time. Choosing the right software can be difficult when considering options that are compatible with your existing system while also moving toward modernization.
Choosing an Electrical Control Partner
To specify and program a PLC or PLC panel, technical support is an invaluable resource. Whether you lean on a specialist for troubleshooting or you’re looking for a electrical control expert to consult with you from start to finish, an experienced partner can help you achieve the highest performing PLC.
PanelShop.com has the experienced staff and manufacturing capacity to deliver the highest quality control panels for your project. We are a single source panel builder that manufactures, programs, and provides support for all of our panels from our base in the United States.
Contact us and we'll provide a free custom quote or discuss your project: