Not to be confused with machine control. They were first developed in the automobile industry to provide flexible, ruggedised and difference between dcs and plc pdf programmable controllers to replace hard-wired relays, timers and sequencers. Since then they have been widely adopted as high-reliability automation controllers suitable for harsh environments. A PLC is an example of a “hard” real-time system since output results must be produced in response to input conditions within a limited time, otherwise unintended operation will result.
O, and which are often networked to other PLC and SCADA systems. O, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. Programs to control machine operation are typically stored in battery-backed-up or non-volatile memory.
It was from the automotive industry in the USA that the PLC was born. Before the PLC, control, sequencing, and safety interlock logic for manufacturing automobiles was mainly composed of relays, cam timers, drum sequencers, and dedicated closed-loop controllers. Since these could number in the hundreds or even thousands, the process for updating such facilities for the yearly model change-over was very time consuming and expensive, as electricians needed to individually rewire the relays to change their operational characteristics.
When digital computers became available, being general-purpose programmable devices, they were soon applied to control sequential and combinatorial logic in industrial processes. However these early computers required specialist programmers and stringent operating environmental control for temperature, cleanliness, and power quality. To meet these challenges the PLC was developed with several key attributes.
The winning proposal came from Bedford Associates of Bedford, Massachusetts. The first PLC, designated the 084 because it was Bedford Associates’ eighty-fourth project, was the result. Bedford Associates started a new company dedicated to developing, manufacturing, selling, and servicing this new product: Modicon, which stood for MOdular DIgital CONtroller. One of the people who worked on that project was Dick Morley, who is considered to be the “father” of the PLC.
The Modicon brand was sold in 1977 to Gould Electronics, later acquired by German Company AEG, and then by French Schneider Electric, the current owner. One of the very first 084 models built is now on display at Schneider Electric’s facility in North Andover, Massachusetts. It was presented to Modicon by GM, when the unit was retired after nearly twenty years of uninterrupted service.
Modicon used the 84 moniker at the end of its product range until the 984 made its appearance. The automotive industry is still one of the largest users of PLCs.