ifm electronic's recently launched all-in-one SmartPLC combines the functions of a standard PLC, safety controller, AS-i gateway to either Profinet or Ethernet/IP, protocol converter, operator display, data logger, web server and intelligent evaluation unit.
The SmartPLC possesses the flexibility for a multitude of tasks, even where the safety rating reaches SIL 3 / PL e. According to ifm, the SmartPLC is all you need in one housing.
Two separate integrated safety and standard PLCs operate in tandem, using powerful processors, large memory and numerous supported protocols for the control of sophisticated systems - and all this at a price that is said to be unbeatable.
The safety PLC is certified up to SIL3 / PL e and handles eight safe local inputs (four dual-channel) and four safe local outputs. It also includes user-friendly diagnostic functions such as status indication for the safe I/O and error memory with time stamp for up to 2000 messages. The safety PLC is programmed using Codesys V3.
The standard PLC can also be freely programmed using Codesys V3. Its software and hardware operate independently of the safety PLC, but it can communicate with it and exchange data.
Without running a program, the SmartPLC can simply be used as a direct gateway for AS-i on one side and Profinet or EtherNet/IP on the other. The integrated display and the easy web interface display all the available status information for the user and support diagnostics in case of a fault.
In addition, the data logging function records operational system data via AS-i, EtherCAT, Modbus TCP, Profinet, EtherNet/IP, TCP/IP and UDP/IP; data is stored on the SD card or in the internal flash memory. If necessary, the integrated real-time clock provides a time stamp for each recorded data block, which simplifies the documentation and diagnostics of processes.
The SmartPLC features freely programmable web visualisation based on HTML5 to provide maximum transparency. An internet browser with HTML5 capability is all that is required to view information on a remote device such as a PC, tablet or smartphone. No further software is required. Even the SmartPLC full colour graphic display is freely programmable for visualisation tasks.
New ifm system solution apps make it a simple task to handle various sensor types. Modern sensors offer more and more intelligent functions that can also be made available to the PLC via interfaces like IO-Link or TCP/IP but, to make full use of them, the PLC programmer has to individually implement the functionalities in the PLC. This can be very time-consuming and costly, especially when it comes to implementing the required user interfaces. However, ifm's tailored apps can be loaded onto the SmartPLC without programming any software. The apps are loaded and configured via the integrated web interface, so all necessary settings can be carried out easily using any device with an internet browser. It is described as being as easy as using a smart phone - and is a simple step on the road to Industry 4.0.
With sensors and Ethernet-based devices connected to the fieldbus, the SmartPLC can be used as a protocol converter between Profinet or EtherNet/IP on the one hand, and AS-i, EtherCAT, Modbus TCP, TCP/IP, UDP/IP and IO-Link on the other.
Follow the link for more information about the new SmartPLC from ifm electronic.