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Third-generation `smart relays` challenge nano-PLCs

08 September, 2011

One of the pioneers of “smart relay” logic controllers, Crouzet, has announced the third generation of its Millenium family, which now comes in two versions: Essential and Smart. The range now consists of more than 200 items and offers more than 130 function blocks for creating simple or advanced automation systems.

The Smart version (above) has an easy-to-read blue screen showing four lines of 18 characters. It has 76 memory slots for application-specific functions and a 700-block memory capacity, making it easier to create complex applications, according to Crouzet. The controller also has a wider temperature operating range than previous models – from -20 to +20°C.

There is also a new version (v2.5) of the accompanying AC7 software, which, according to Crouzet product manager, André Chovin, “marks a major step forward in terms of user-friendliness. The tabs are now organised so that the function blocks are more logically arranged. This is a significant evolution as far as users are concerned.”
 
The blocks are arranged in categories – such as calculation, logic, I/O and HMI – while a new Macro tab allows macro enhancements to be arranged in a similar way. Users can rename six tabs as “favourites“ and place their most frequently used function blocks and macros in them.

The free-to-download software can design automation applications using just a mouse – no code needs to be entered. It also includes a simulator that can be used to test applications before they are loaded onto a Millenium 3. This allows applications to be programmed early in the project, and the most suitable controller to be chosen for the application.

A Monitoring mode can be used to check an application visually on a PC, by linking the PC to a Millenium 3 via a USB cable or Bluetooth dongle. Application designers can thus analyse how the program runs in the controller, and adjust parameters, force levels, and so on.

Crouzet, whose headquarters are in France, launched its first Millenium controller 12 years ago. The company is now part of Custom Sensors & Techologies, which is owned by Schneider Electric. Other members of the CST group include Crydom, Newall and BEI.




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