Pros and Cons of PLCs in Industrial Automation

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are a staple of modern industrial automation with more benefits than drawbacks. They outperform relay alternatives in flexibility, safety, response times, remote access, and more. It’s much easier to expand a PLC-based system than one built using relays.

Are you trying to build or improve your automated industrial process in central California? Are you hoping to decide on the best technology without breaking the bank? Keep reading to find out why PLC-based automation is the best route!

This Access Industrial Automation blog post discusses the pros and cons of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)-based systems. We’ll also explain the alternative to PLCs and why the industry standard is PLC-based.

12 Benefits of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Automation

The benefits of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)-based automation include cost-effectiveness, scalability, flexibility, safety, remote access, data-sending capabilities, durability, accuracy, easy maintenance, fast response times, and long life spans.

We’ll explain each of these benefits and how they compare to alternative technology.

1. PLCs Are Cost-effective.

PLCs may cost more than relay-based systems, but all other benefits, including safety, scalability, flexibility, and more, make PLCs more cost-effective in the long run. Being able to expand the existing system more easily with expansion will help save on later installation costs, too.

2. PLC Systems are scalable.

PLCs are scalable. That means it’s relatively simple for an engineer to add PLCs and build upon existing PLC systems as your industrial operation grows and evolves. You won’t have to start from scratch with every upgrade and expansion.

 3. PLCs Are Flexible.

PLCs are flexible enough in industrial automation to run everything from food processing to solar energy management. PLCs can operate both heavy-duty equipment and precise robotics. This makes PLCs flexible enough for any industry application.

4. PLCs Are Safer.

PLCs are safer than relay-based systems. The fail-safe capabilities of PLCs result in more reliable and timely responses to data indicating a problem. The programming flexibility of PLCs also enhances their safety features over relay-based systems.

5. PLCs Send Information and Data.

PLCs are capable of receiving numerous inputs from sensors and processing data according to the programming. All of this data is easily transmitted to human-machine interfaces, onsite and offsite locations. The data is helpful for predictive maintenance.

6. PLCs Can Be Accessed Remotely.

PLCs can be connected to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems where data is uploaded to servers. These servers can be remote or in the cloud, allowing for remote access to the entire automated process.

7. PLCs Are Durable.

Durable PLCs are built to withstand the harsh environment often found in industrial settings. In this case, PLCs outperform PC-based alternatives to programming. PLCs can function in cold and hot environments and chemical processing plants.

8. PLCs Are Reliable.

The ladder-based logic system of PLCs is incredibly reliable. PLCs outperform relays when it comes to background electrical noise and safety performance. Their durability in harsh environments only adds to their reliability over alternatives.

9. PLCs Are Accurate.

PLCs are accurate enough to control large-scale automation as well as precise robotic control. Their accuracy in a wide range of automated applications is unbeatable.

10. PLCs Are Easy to Maintain.

PLCs are easy to maintain because they have built-in diagnostics to facilitate troubleshooting. PLCs are also easy to repair in sections because their modular design allows for portions to be updated or replaced without affecting the rest.

11. PLCs Have Faster Response Times.

PLCs utilize sold-state programming, which is their main technological advantage over relay-based systems. This solid-state programming makes PLCs capable of processing inputs and sending responding outputs faster.

12. PLCs Have Long Life Spans.

Programmable Logic Controllers’ track record speaks for itself. PLCs have been know to function for decades with the right maintenance. Their scalability and durability contribute to this long life in performing automated processes.

Cons of Programmable Logic Controller Automation

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) cons include being more expensive than some alternatives and less flexible than PC-based programming. However, despite these drawbacks, you’ll get more durability than a PC-based system and more bang for your buck than a relay-based one.

Alternatives to PLCs for Automation

Automation can happen on the older technology of relay-based logic systems or newer PC-based programming. However, PLCs outperform relay-based systems in every area, so the additional cost is worth it. PLCs are also better suited to harsh industrial environments than PC-based ones.

The other advantage of PLC-based automation systems over PC-based ones is that the ladder-based logic of PLCs is more widely understood and used by engineers than any single PC-based programming language. PLCs also remain flexible enough to perform an infinite number of automated tasks.

PLC Services in Central California

Access Industrial Automation offers PLC programming services in central california, including Fresno, Modesto, Stockton, and the surrounding areas. You can implement or expand your PLC-based automation with expert assistance.

Contact Access Industrial Automation online or call (209)-577-1491 during regular business hours to get started.

If you would like to understand the difference between PLCs and SCADA Systems, continue reading here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) programming?

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) programming’s advantages include cost-effectiveness, scalability, improved safety, programming flexibility, durability, easy maintenance, data collection and processing, remote access, longer life spans, faster response times, and accuracy.

Why Are Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) good for industrial use?

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are good for industrial use because they are easy to use and durable in extreme temperatures and environments. Their accurate and flexible programming works in numerous industries. PLCs also have fast response times and essential safety capabilities.

Why are PLCs better than PCs for industrial use?

PLCs are durable enough to withstand the harsh industrial environment, scalable enough to perform well and respond quickly to improve safety and keep industrial automation efficient. PCs are not designed to handle harsh industrial settings but may perform functions within the whole SCADA system.

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