23 Jul 2024


Tiny PLC platform supports Industry 4.0 applications

California-based Maxim Integrated Products has announced a pocket-sized PLC development platform that, it asserts, will redefine how factories operate, as well as enabling Industry 4.0 applications. In a volume of less than 10in3 (164cm3), the platform provides 30 IOs (including four analogue inputs, one analogue output, eight digital inputs and eight digital outputs), four IO-link ports, three motion controllers, and diagnostics. It incorporates what are claimed to be the industry’s smallest brushed DC motor drivers, as well as incremental encoder inputs.

Compared to the Micro PLC platform that Maxim launched two years ago, the Pocket IO is 2.5 times smaller and reduces power consumption by a further 30%.

The platform can be used for rapid prototyping, and the PLC’s operation can be controlled from iPhones or iPads, acting as HMIs.   

The fan-less platform incorporates “smart” energy consumption functions and offers:

•  Real-time intelligence  Fast processing provides the data needed to make intelligent decisions quickly and effectively.

•  Adaptive manufacturing  Flexibility allows for real-time changes and adjustments to avoid potential downtime.

•  Distributed control  The platform “re-distributes” control intelligently, and provides redundancy.

The Pocket IO platform incorporates patent-pending, fast, and safe demagnetisation clamps that eliminate 16 diodes from the previous generation designs, thus achieving a 15-fold space saving. An iso-buck DC-DC converter offers efficiencies above 90% – reducing power dissipation by more than 30% compared to its predecessor. A digital input translator/serialiser can be powered from any 5V supply, while accepting input signals up to 36V, thus eliminating the protection components needed for 24V supplies and halving its footprint.

Maxim will demonstrate the Pocket IO PLC development platform and other Industry 4.0 systems at the electronica exhibition in Germany in November.

The Pocket IO PLC reference design costs $499, including the IO-link protocol stack, cables, and a power supply.