Idec is launching the new Pentra range of Micro-PLCs. Twelve CPU modules have been added that are compatible with the company's existing Microsmart I/O modules and are the same physical size as the present CPUs. With more than double the memory, up to 275 times more processing speed and the ability to perform floating-point maths, the Pentra PLCs can handle complex tasks. Moreover, compared with competitive PLCs, the Pentra is claimed to offer the same performance or better but at a price that is typically 50 per cent lower.
Other improved functions include a CPU with high-speed counter inputs counting at a maximum frequency of 100kHz with 32-bit word comparisons, and PID with an advanced auto-tune feature. 100kHz pulse outputs enable faster stepper motor applications to be implemented.
Master and slave expansion modules are being introduced, enabling a maximum of 512 I/O to be connected via an expansion cable if necessary. This means the Pentra can be accommodated in narrow cabinets, as the master/slave units can be situated anywhere in the I/O range.
Network capability has not been ignored either: Ethernet connectivity is possible via the new web server; up to two AS-I network modules can be addressed; and the Pentra is able to operate as a Modbus master or slave. By adding extra modules, up to seven serial ports can be connected, giving access to bar code readers, printers, displays or any RS232C-compatible device.
The upgraded ladder-style programming software, WindLDR V5.0, gives users the options of online editing and runtime programme downloading, which means the Pentra does not have to stop its scan while program modifications are undertaken. If users want to develop their programme and the PLC is not available for testing, then the programme simulation feature can be used directly on the PC. This can help to accelerate development projects, as well as improving troubleshooting.
Options include AC and DC supply CPUs with 10, 16 and 24 I/O, DC supply advanced slim CPUs with 16 and 32 I/O, screw terminal and I DC connectors, plug-in real-time clock, memory cartridges and mini HMI modules, and add-on serial ports.