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20 April, 2018

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Micro-PLC with Web server packs the power of a PAC

20 May, 2016

Japan’s Idec Corporation has released a micro-PLC which, it claims, offers the power of a PAC (programmable automation controller) and supports up to 520 I/O. The FC6A MicroSmart controller can execute basic instructions in 0.042µs, has a 640kB program memory, incorporates 1,024 timers and 512 counters (including six high-speed timers capable of up to 100kHz), has a built-in Web server, and can handle large programs with complex control requirements such as PID, flow totalisation and recipes.

There are three models available, each with 24V DC or 100–240V AC inputs. The 16 I/O model has nine inputs, and seven relay or transistor outputs. The 24 I/O model has 14 inputs, and 10 relay or transistor outputs, and the 40 I/O model has 24 inputs, and 16 relay or transistor outputs. All models include a 0–10V DC analogue input. The 16 and 24 I/O versions can accommodate one plug-in analogue cartridge, while the 40 I/O model can accommodate two plug-in analogue cartridges. Each cartridge has two analogue I/O points, either two inputs or two outputs. The 40 I/O model can be powered by 12V DC, making it suitable for solar- and battery-powered applications.

Up to 12 expansion modules can be added to the 16 I/O model, and up to 15 modules to the 24 and 40 I/O versions. These modules can be of any type with no restrictions on the number of analogue and specialty modules. This gives the 40 I/O PLC the capability to handle up to 520 I/O with a maximum of 126 analogue I/O.

An optional HMI module can be added to the CPU to provide an operator interface with a display and control buttons. It can also include an optional plug-in analogue cartridge, and it has a built-in Ethernet port

Custom Web pages provide an IoT capability and can be configured for remote monitoring and control. The Web pages are created using a drag-and-drop process and are stored on the PLC, which functions as a Web server when its built-in Ethernet port or the HMI Ethernet port are connected to the Internet. The Web pages can be accessed via any browser running on any Internet-connected device such as a remote PC, tablet or a smartphone.

Idec's micro-PLC offers a choice of three I/O capacities and can be expanded up to 520 I/O

Connecting the MicroSmart or the HMI Ethernet port to the Internet also provides email and text notification functions, which can be used with third-party email servers.

All versions have a built-in RJ-45 Ethernet port, and an RJ-45 RS-232C/485 serial port. A plug-in cartridge can add an extra RS-232C/485 port. An SD memory port and a mini-B USB port can be used for data-logging, program storage/transfer, firmware updating or recipe storage. The Ethernet port supports the Modbus TCP protocol, and the serial port supports Modbus RTU.

The MicroSmart PLC is programmed using Idec’s WindLDR PC-based software, which can convert programs from Idec’s FC4A and FC5A PLCs to run on the FC6A. The PLC programming languages include ladder and Script, which is similar to C programming, and can be used to create complex programs including multiple sub-programs and custom function blocks.




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