The inventor of the PLC is Dick Morley, an American engineer who was an expert in computer design, artificial intelligence, and automation. He received numerous awards throughout his career. Dick Morley is credited with inventing the programmable logic controller in 1968. He led the team that led the development of the first PLC while he was at Bedford & Associates Company.
The invention of the PLC was supported by the need to automate the General Motors production facility.
The first programmable logic controllers were called the Modicon PLCs. The name was a shortened version of the modular digital controller. The launching of the Modicon PLC revolutionized the industry and how to automate industrial processes and machines.
Modicon was the company that created Modicon PLC in 1968. But since then Modicon has been owned by AEG and is currently owned by Schneider. PLCs have come a long way since their inception over 50 years ago.
How does a programmable logic controller automate an industrial application?
Just as the human brain depends on the information provided by our senses, the PLC requires instrumentation to measure its surroundings. These are known as PLC inputs.
A PLC collects information from devices and uses application software to determine what actions to take.
The information collected by the hardware is stored in the data memory and the application program is stored in the program memory.
Finally, just as the brain controls movement in our bodies, a PLC controls the movements in a machine that uses electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic devices. These are known as PLC outputs.
For example, let’s connect a PLC with the input and output devices for a basic temperature control application. If we connect a temperature sensor as the input to a PLC, we can measure how hot it is. Then if we connect an electric fan as a PLC output we can regulate the temperature.
Remember that a PLC’s level of automation is only as good as the quality of the information collected by the hardware and the quality of the application program in its memory. So a good program with solid logical expressions will ensure a hassle-free operation.
PLC can control industrial automation applications. The number of applications a PLC can control is endless, but here are some examples:
1. Control the water tank level by monitoring the tank level and changing the inlet pump speed.
2. Controlling the temperature of the drying oven by monitoring its internal temperature and repositioning the burner control valve.
3. Control the start and stop sequence of a series of material handling conveyors.
For more information about Modicon, you can visit the MROElectric website.
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