The controller is the foundation for industrial control and automation. Platforms may include a programmable logic controller (PLC), a programmable automation controller (PAC), or a combination. Look for a system that will reliably perform for years. Following are seven steps to take when choosing a controller for your industrial control and automation needs.
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1. Consider End Goals
End goals may include increasing productivity levels or greater accuracy. Select controllers with enough capabilities that you will not have to add them at a later date.
2. Research Brands
Not all controllers and brands are the same. Knowledgeable people can help you make an educated decision as to the numerous hardware platforms, and provide you with performance details on specific makes and models.
3. Insure Basic Features
Determine the controller meets your fundamental expectations. This may include online bypass, or alarm supervision.
4. Determine Communication Needs
Communication between devices or humans is essential. For your industrial control and automation needs, select a controller that is able to “talk” with all of your device buses.
5. Review Scalability
Consider scalability before purchase. Some systems allow users to add or subtract functionality without nullifying prior purchases, or designs.
6. Research Single Control Platforms
Single control platforms for all your industrial control and automation needs has numerous advantages. Platforms should be capable of managing current and future needs.
7. Review Flexibility
Purchasing a flexible system in the beginning can save money over the next ten years. Controllers differ in their capability of being modified.
8.Support and Warranty
Choose a vendor that provides in-depth support when you need it. Often, hardware or software questions need to be answered immediately.
Think ahead five years. More and more factories are requiring networks of integrated controllers. With growth, this will continue.