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Micro PLC is `fastest in its class`

29 July, 2007

The Japanese automation supplier Idec has launched a family of micro PLCs which, it claims, out-perform their main rivals in several key areas. For example, it says that the new MicroSmart Pentra range has an execution time per basic instruction of 0.056ms, making it faster than Mitsubishi’s FX3U (0.065ms), Rockwell’s Logix 1500 (0.9ms) and Siemens’ S7-226 (0.37ms). The new PLCs can also support at least twice as many I/O (512), PID loops (56) and communications ports (7) than these three rivals.

Idec Pentra PLC

Compared to Idec’s previous generation, the new PLCs have more than twice the memory capacity (64kb) and up to 275 times the processing speed. The 12 CPU modules in the family have high-speed counters that operate up to 100kHz with 32-bit word comparisons, floating maths capabilities, and PID functions with auto-tuning. Master and slave expansion modules have been introduced, supporting up to 512 I/O via expansion cables if necessary.

The new CPUs can be used with Idec’s existing MicroSmart I/O modules. The company has also introduced several new modules including a communications module that adds an extra RS-232C port with a baud rate of up to 38.4kb. Five of these can be used with one CPU (in addition to the two serial ports built into the CPUs). The version shown above has an HMI module and five RS-232C modules.

A new Web server module supports Ethernet connections and two AS-i network modules can be addressed. The PLCs can also operate as Modbus masters or slaves.

There are also two new eight-channel analogue modules – four times more channels than earlier modules, thus saving space and cutting the cost per channel. The 16-bit resolution modules have voltage (0-10V) and current (4-20mA) inputs and a transfer time of 6ms per channel. There is also a new two-channel, 16-bit voltage/current output module with a transfer time of 1ms per channel.

Idec has also upgraded its programming software, giving users the options of on-line editing and runtime program downloading. This means that the PLC can continue to scan while a program is being modified. PLC programs can be simulated on a PC.

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