What is PLC?
Programmable Logic Controller, more popularly known as PLC, is a digital computer without a mouse or a keyboard, or a monitor. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) focuses on automating different electro-mechanical processes taking place in various industries. It has specially designed and implemented controllers with a well-programmed microprocessor that are immune to extremely high and low temperatures, humidity, dust, etc.
Just like any usual program, the coding is programmed on a computer. From here, it is transferred to the PLC using a cable. After downloading the programs, these are loaded and stored in the PLC. In order to make sure the programs do not vanish at the time of power cut or switch off, it uses non-volatile memory storage.
It is programmed using a programming language called Ladder Logic. It is already known that it is an industrial computer. To program it, a programming language had to be designed so that the electricians and electrical engineers in an industry could easily understand and feel comfortable enough to code in it.
A Programmable Logic Controller consists of various input and output terminals. Using the input terminals, it interprets the logical states from switches and sensors. There are two logical states, also known as high(or 1) and low(or 0). The output from the output terminals is used as a signal for various devices, providing them on/off controls. The electrical engineers understand the ladder logic diagrams, and so it was the inspiration behind the programming language used to program it.
The most commons areas of use are washing machines, elevators, and also traffic signals.
A programmable Logic Controller is a small computer that automatically controls various processes and components in an industrial system. For the sake of comparison, let’s take a process that is manual; as an example, thinks of PLC as a brain controlling a finger on a trigger of an applicator. The brain sends a signal to the finger directing it to pull the finger when something is dispensed, and when the brain wants to stop, it sends another signal. Like most of the brains, it can multitask, and it’s lightning-fast. Just like that, it can control many input and output signal like direct a paint line to change colors, so all the widgets being painted go from one color to other.
It communicates to the CPU status of the field devices as well as acts as a tool to control. The programming device is actually a computer loaded with programming software that will allow a user to create and make changes in the PLC software. The memory provides storage media for the PLC program as well as for other data.
- Easily programmable
- Well shielded to outlast harsh situations
- Input and output interface available where thousands of input and output can be controlled through a single PLC
- Highly reliable
- Easy to maintain
PLC professionals are experts in concepts, electrical designs. They are also knowledgeable about fabrication and circuit board layout.
Also, they entail meeting with global standards in providing solutions to companies. This ensures making tasks easier by correct relaying of messages and the required team coordination.
Why should we use PLC?
The most common use of it is in washing machines, controlling traffic signals, elevators, etc. Also, we cannot neglect the use of PLCs in industries to monitor and control building systems and production processes.
Why do we need PLC, and What can you do with PLC?
It is needed to automate machines in the industry to reduce human errors, thus minimizing the human errors that might occur in the process. Consider a situation where a human handling a system missed to switched the motor on. Imagine the delay it might cause in operation to begin. The simple solution to solve this is by automating the motor using PLC. So the basic and most important use of it is in the automation of machines.
Who is the Right Audience for learning PLC Technologies?
The one-step solution to learning is various available courses online. It is also the best economical and easy way; however, the challenge in learning PLC online is you might learn the names and functioning of software and hardware parts of PLC, the ladder logic diagrams creation or configuring the various modules, but just the theoretical knowledge is not enough. In order to be successful, one needs to have hands-on experience. The one with an interest and background in logic diagrams and controls can start with the PLC programming tool. An elaborate program for an application is not at all an easy task to create. It would help if you had a lot of practice and hands-on to do so. In order to excel in this, one can begin from a small machine building company to gain insight and full-fledged skills and experience of the job.
Scope and How this Technology will help you in Career Growth?
As we all know that every industry is moving on to automating its processes and tools, the demand for the programmer is rapidly increasing. Industrial sectors in India like food and beverages, manufacturing industry, oil and gas industry, transport, process industries, etc., are also stepping into Industrial Automation. As a matter of fact, technologies like AI, IOT are merging with OT or operational technologies, which include PLC, SCADA, DCS. Renowned companies like SIEMENS, Mitsubishi, Fanuc, Honeywell, etc., provide their product and services all over the world. One can find many opportunities in IT and OT sectors as developer, testers, and analyst for it, and so we can say that there awaits a bright, successful future in automation for the same.
These applications are specifically highly customized systems. It is cheaper when compared to the price of a specific custom-built controller. Generally, it requires less maintenance and is more robust, henceforth making the things they control work better, despite the environment.
This has been a guide to What is PLC?. Here we discussed the basic concept, working, scope, skills, along with career growth and advantages in PLC. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –