The Importance of Selection – Industrial PCs vs PLCs, Part 1
Be purposeful about selecting the best controller for your machine
With the growing number of controller choices available to automation engineers, separating the chaff in order to find the best device for their particular application can be difficult when evaluating multiple platform types. Industrial PCs (IPCs), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs) all perform essentially the same function: equipping machines with control and automation functions. However, one should always heed the “good, better, best” scale when evaluating machine controllers.
So how do engineers differentiate between these choices and come to the correct decision for specific applications? When designing projects from scratch, it is best to begin with this question: Will the application remain the same and never require an upgrade over the entire life of the machine? If so, then a lower-cost PLC or PAC may be an option.
Realistically, most companies will need to improve, upgrade and customize their applications to suit changing plant requirements not just at some point, but repeatedly over the course of a machine’s life cycle. IPCs from Beckhoff Automation offer the most advanced, powerful and a forward-compatible choice. PC-based control platforms provide flexible alternatives for integrators who demand both a manageable migration path and higher levels of power and precision from their control system.
Want to learn more about the benefits of PC-based controllers in automation? Contact your local Beckhoff sales engineer today.
Eric Reiner is the IPC Product Manager for Beckhoff Automation LLC.
A version of this article previously appeared in Control Engineering magazine.