This article from Control Engineering offers a great preview of the future of manufacturing with PLCs. Ethernet connections allow for real-time data collection, which introduces great networking potential between workers and the machines. Because PLCs can be programmed to make decisions based on input variables, we can automate more tasks but still be confident that process variables are under control. The development and innovation of Modicon Quantum I/O Modules create the backbone of the PLC networking configuration.
Another exciting revelation in the article:
To meet the growing operation needs of industrial automation, networks continue to expand, offering monitoring and control capabilities in areas not previously possible. Device networks are now using fieldbus-to-Ethernet integration to develop enterprise-wide control networks. Merging networking functionality with PLCs enables users to off-load main processor tasks for distributed control in the field, placing control-level devices closer to the action. Additionally, by combining control with distributed I/O, manufacturers can lower their total cost of operation by streamlining data acquisition, communication, and factory-wide connectivity.
We can’t wait to see how users pair the networking capabilities of PLCs with infrastructure already in place on the factory floor.