Programmable controller applications refer to digital computers that are designed for the automation of electrochemical processes. They are mainly used in different industries and machines for purposes such as packaging. PCAs differ from general-purpose computers in that they are designed to accept multiple inputs and output arrangements, temperature ranges, and are immune to electrical noise, and resist vibration and impact. PCA programs are stored in nonvolatile memory. They are good examples of real-time systems because their output is produced in response to the input situations within a specified period.
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Small PCAs have a determined number of connections that are built for both inputs and outputs. They provide expansions if the base model has an inadequate number of input/ outputs. Modular PCAs have racks that are used to place modules with diverse functions. The processor and input/output modules are selected according to specific applications. A single processor may administer several racks and may contain a large number of inputs and outputs. To distribute the racks away from the processor, a special serial input/output link is used to link the processor to the rack (Pico, p. 14).
PCAs differ from normal computers in that they are built to survive in tuff conditions such as dust, heat, cold, and moisture and they also have amenities for extensive input/output arrangements. The arrangements enable the connection of the PCA to sensors and actuators. PCAs interpret limit switches, analog process variables, and locations of complex location systems. The input/output arrangements may be embedded into a PCA or the PCA may have exterior modules which are attached to a computer network that connects to the PCA (Pico, p. 37).
PCA User Interface
PCAs employ a human-machine interface (HMI) to interact with people. The interaction involves machine configuration, alarm reporting, or daily control of the machines. The Human Machine interface is also referred to as Graphical user interface (GUI). The HMI may include the use of buttons and lights, text displays, or graphical touch screens to communicate with the user. Complex systems may employ the use of programming and monitoring software which is installed into a computer connected to the PCA via a communication interface. Modern PCAs can communicate to other systems via a network such as a system running a Web browser. PCAs used in huge input/output systems may involve peer-to-peer communication between processors. This enables subsystems to coordinate via a communication link (Pico, p. 53).
PCA performs a range of automation tasks. The automation tasks include industrial manufacturing processes. The importance of using them in industries is to reduce the cost of developing and maintaining an automation system. Little electrical design is required for the implementation of PCAs. They also contain input/output devices that conform to industrial pilot controls and devices. If an industry is involved in the large production of products it will be economical for them to use PCAs chosen for optimum performance rather than use generic solutions (Pico, p. 61).
Programmable controller applications differ from general-purpose computers in that they are used to perform specific functions. They are mainly used in Industries for the automation of industrial processes. Their use in industries helps to make work easier and cut an industry’s operations cost.
- Allen, Bradley, Pico: Programmable logic controllers: Rockwell Automation; 2009 pp. 3-16.
- Allen, Bradley, Pico: Programmable automation controllers Rockwell Automation: 2009 pp. 32-52.