Mobile app provides access to PLCs via Bluetooth or WiFi

IDEC is releasing its WindEDIT Lite app for iOS and Android devices, providing two-way access to its family of MicroSmart FC6A and FC6A Plus PLCs. The app is said to provide much quicker, simpler and easier connection compared with browser-based access.

With the WindEDIT Lite app, users can monitor any PLC parameter and change set points and other values. Data register, status of inputs and outputs, timer and counter values can be monitored and controlled using the standard Dialogue Interface. The WindEDIT Lite app also has a custom Dialogue Interface that users can configure to permit only certain PLC parameters to be monitored and controlled. Trending is supported within the app, with users able to plot multiple register points for graphical views.

The WindEDIT Lite app runs on any iOS or Android mobile device, typically a smartphone or tablet. Once the app is downloaded to the device, it interfaces to the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via wireless Bluetooth or WiFi Ethernet for two-way local or remote access. Bluetooth is excellent for local, limited-range connections where an Ethernet network may not be available, such as within an industrial plant or facility. WiFi has more range and can be used for communications over longer distances.

Because the connection is wireless, users never have to worry about having the right cable or the latest programming software to download or upload a MicroSmart FC6A PLC user program, as these tasks can be accomplished with the app. Users can also update the PLC to the latest firmware.

The WindEDIT Lite app provides access to an SD memory card installed in the PLC (a standard feature on all FC6A PLCs), so logged information stored in the SD memory card can be easily accessed. The logged data can be viewed, and then attached to a text message or an email, either of which can be sent to recipients.

Logged data can also be pushed to a local or cloud-based database, or to a data storage platform such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, etc. In addition to logged data, other data such as user programs, firmware, recipes, etc, can be sent and retrieved from databases and storage platforms.

To provide the required security, access to the PLC via the WindEDIT Lite app needs to be configured in the PLC for each user, with each app user required to provide his or her correct username and password, otherwise access is denied. For additional security, read/write protection is also configurable for each designated user, allowing restricted access based on the user's needs; for example, only read and no write privileges.

Application example - Case 1

Problem: An OEM machine builder sold its equipment to a customer, who needed to make a minor modification to the PLC program to accommodate a change in its production process.

Solution: The OEM made the PLC program modification and sent it to the customer via email. The customer opened the email on his iPhone and used the WindEDIT Lite app to download the updated program to the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via a Bluetooth connection.

Application example - Case 2

Problem: A plant operator needed to send production status to the plant manager at the end of a shift and to store this data in a historian (cloud-based storage).

Solution: The operator used the WindEDIT Lite app installed on his Android tablet to retrieve the logged data from the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via Bluetooth. He then attached this logged data to an email, which he forwarded to the plant manager via WiFi. He also sent the logged data to a cloud-based historian, also via WiFi.

Free to download

The WindEDIT Lite App is available for free download in the Apple App Store or at Google Play.

As with all its products, IDEC offers free technical support for the WindEDIT Lite App, with no service or support contract required. For complete specifications or additional information, go to FC6A.IDEC.com.

Apem Components Ltd, an IDEC company

Drakes Drive
Long Crendon
HP18 9BA
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1844 202400

sales@apem.co.uk

www.apem.co.uk

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