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Advanced PLC addresses challenges in machinery control

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ABB is extending the capability of the AC500 PLC with a very high performance version. The brand new AC500 PM595 features a multi-processor system with the performance to handle the most demanding machinery and motion automation control and communication tasks.

The new AC500 PM595 Machinery Controller is optimised for robust, high performance industrial control, and is built around a 1.3 GHz processor with four 32-bit RISC processors plus an embedded double precision floating point processor, 16 MB of user program memory and a large array of communications interfaces. The very high level of computational capability allows the new controller to handle extremely complex control tasks, involving complexities such as precision coordinated motion with very large quantities of axes, and mathematics intensive computations such as real time trigonometric calculations for robotics or other advanced kinematic applications. The controller also has a built in interface to allow ABB’s advanced safety PLC to be connected for high risk applications.

Wangelis Porikis, ABB’s product marketing manager, commented: “Machinery and motion control applications are becoming much more complex as machinery becomes more capable, smarter and safer, and as demands for more sophisticated human interfaces and communications grows. The sheer computational capability of the AC500 PM595, with its rich features set and versatile communications capability, provides enormous flexibility for automation builders. It provides a controller that can handle virtually any application, but also one that is highly software configurable – giving OEMs a single control platform for a very broad range of applications”.

Versatile connectivity is central to the new machinery controller’s design. This allows it to be used with both legacy systems and today’s favoured networks – as well as providing a soft architecture that can handle future demands. Four independent Ehternet interfaces and an integrated network switch are built in. Two of these interfaces are programmable, supporting different Ethernet based protocols such as EtherCAT and PROFINET – allowing PLC to be connected to control two different types of network simultaneously . TCP/IP, UDP, CAN/CANopen and two RS232/485 serial interfaces complete the on board connectivity. Further networking and fieldbus interfaces may be added via the PLC’s dual expansion ports. This variety of communication possibilities gives users the means to evolve control networks easily, to add new machinery or equipment into control system networks for example, even if located on another process line or location.

The AC500 PM595 PLC is compatible with a range of AC500 expansion modules – providing unlimited flexibility for industrial control and monitoring of applications. Users can also build systems with integrates functional safety, connecting ABB’s safety PLC directly onto a second expansion port. This provides great flexibility for implementing safety critical applications.

AC500 PM595 is intrinsically robust. The PLC uses non-volatile MRAM memory, and operates without fan cooling – giving great flexibility of location to equipment designers and process automation engineers. An alternative variant of the AC500 PM595 is additionally available for controlling equipment operating in harsh conditions and extreme climates. The XC or ‘eXtreme Conditions’ version of the PLC adds further protection against a wide variety of threats to reliability including high and low temperatures, high humidity, low air pressure, salt mist, and hazardous gases, and vibration and shock. This can greatly reduce industrial control system building costs by eliminating the need for sophisticated protective enclosures with special seals, HVAC, shock absorbers, EMC protection, etc.

To handle the increasing complexity of industrial control applications and the rapidly escalating costs of developing software, the new PLC is compatible with ABB’s renowned Automation Builder programming capability. This engineering development environment provides an integrated tool suite for control and motion systems based on PLCs, safety PLCs, motion control and related automation components – reducing software complexity, and cutting time to market and cost of ownership. All the tools required for configuring, programming, debugging and maintaining automation projects are provided via a common intuitive interface.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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