VCA and IDEC are introducing the MicroSmart FC6A Plus PLC that stretches performance beyond micro PLC limits. With its 2,060 I/O capacity, this PLC can control large machines or entire small scale manufacturing facilities. It provides more capabilities for even the most demanding applications.

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are one of the most widely used pieces of automation technology. Not to be confused with a PID, the fact that they are programmable makes them versatile in their application. Named for the terms Proportional, Integral, and Derivative, a PID refers to a form of closed-loop control and often is used in temperature control.

PID Controllers are like PLCs, they still require inputs and outputs to receive information from the process and send signals back to control it. They differ in that they contain special algorithms designed to control a process with one or multiple control loops.

The IDEC MicroSmart FC6A Plus PLC can replace PID controllers in most situations.  One solution VCA helped with to resolve lead time problems was the design simplification of integrator systems., along with the purchase of an IDEC PLC and HMI. This allowed the customer to deliver their system in the time frame needed and reduce the system’s complexity.

There are a few benefits to this setup:

  1. Flexibility – The IDEC FC6A controllers allow you to do more than your PID control.
  2. Standardization – Allows you a single device to use in multiple applications.
  3. ERP / Cloud Connectivity –  This PLC has ethernet and MQTT support to allow you to communicate what it is seeing.
  4. Cost –  The cost of this PLC and HMI is a fraction of the cost of other manufacturers.

Paired with an IDEC HG2J HMI, you have a powerful combination of features. The HMI not only allows your users to interact with the machine but has several functions putting your manufacturing line at the forefront. These include:

  •  a Web server, allowing the HMI to be accessible from a web browser on a PC, smartphone, or tablet.
  • a built-in email function, allowing you to email alarms, data logs, screenshots, and more.
  • a built-in FTP communication support, so you can automatically transfer data to servers.

With the IDEC FC6A Plus and the HG2Js combination, you can create solutions for most applications while implementing IIoT into them. Some examples include:

  • On a parking garage system, you could use this setup to track parking lot fill, display fill level on your website, and email your service company when gate arms are due for preventative maintenance.
  • With a beverage company, you can remotely check the status of a batch even with no one at the location. You can use the Twitter function to tweet when a new batch is complete. You can show customers on your website how much stock is left on a limited flavor.
  • For a water treatment facility, you can significantly reduce the presence on the site through remote monitoring and notifications. You can set up emails for different groups based on the problem. For example, an OEM could set it up a notification alert for more extensive preventative maintenance, as well as smaller items (filter replacement, quality checks, etc.), and inform an air compressor shop when service is needed on the air compressors. If this was a state-run plant, you could have a website so residents can view the status of the plant anywhere.