Mitsubishi Electric’s FX3 series is described as the world’s leading compact PLC range; however, the developers felt there was still a requirement for another variant of the FX3G mid-range version. There are already standard brick and super compact formats; namely FX3G and FX3GC, which offer great flexibility through expansion by using FX3’s innovative dual bus architecture. Expansion modules can be added on both sides of the CPU giving over 10,000 permutations of system configuration for users to choose from, meaning that the PLC system is configured precisely to customers’ needs rather than constrained by product limitations.
Historically, PLC connectivity was limited to serial communications (RS232/485) and proprietary networks. The new FX3GE CPU now has an Ethernet interface built-in as standard, making it possible to share data at up to 10/100mbps with HMIs and SCADA systems. With many of these now using OPC driver technologies, connecting disparate elements of hardware and software can quickly and easily be achieved with minimal engineering effort.
With most plants and factories using Ethernet as their standard network topology these days it makes sense to use the same technology to link automation products together. Although data and control networks should always be kept separate, familiarity with this technology means that PLC to HMI/SCADA communications are much easier to implement by the user. Using Ethernet also makes it is possible to implement wireless systems with relatively low-cost hardware.
Another feature of the FX3GE is the inclusion of analogue I/O, making control via the FX3 PID algorithm easy and effectively a zero-cost option. Giving customers the choice of saving on space and parts inventory by including Ethernet and analogue features in a CPU, or having a totally flexible system of separate components, means that customer only pays for the features they require when the need them, making their systems even leaner and more competitive.
FX3GE is programmed by the GXWorks2 software which offers total flexibility and choice, allowing the designer to choose a simple ladder style programming method, or the more advanced structured style.FX3GEis also included in the comprehensive iQWorks software allowing users to easily configure systems using Mitsubishi’s GOT1000 HMIs and motion products as well as the FX3 PLCs in a single, integrated software package.
FX3GE is aimed at users wishing to deploy a connected, compact PLC with powerful control capabilities at minimum costs. With both versions (24 and 40 I/O variants) costing 25 per cent less than the standard configuration, this is described as the most capable, cost-effective compact PLC from Mitsubishi Electric yet. To learn more please visit automation.mitsubishielectric.co.uk.