How the Transition to Digital PLCs Aligns with Industry Trends

April 5, 2024
To get the most from implementing digital PLCs, it is important to collect the right data and understand the problem context, which helps users make informed decisions.

In an interview with Ted Thayer, Phoenix Contact’s principal product marketing specialist for control, and Eric Kozikowski, MxD’s lead systems integration engineer, Power & Motion learned how the transition to digital programmable logic controllers (PLC) aligns with broader industry trends such as automation and remote accessibility.

Among the topics our two SMEs touch on in this last of a three-part series are:

  • Access to data and flexibility
  • Data visualization and control
  • Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and cybersecurity.

Digital PLCs offer quick visualization and computation of data, which helps with better decision making, and wireless technologies like the internet of things (IoT) allow data transmission without hard-wired connections, enhancing flexibility.

READ MORE: Hydraulic Servo Control Using a PLC

Additionally, PLCs act as computers, performing calculations and visualization within themselves, often with touchscreens for display. They allow for the use of AI/ML for process optimization and resource utilization, while the increased data transfer requires more robust security features.

Of course, integrating digital PLCs is not without its challenges. Companies face hurdles like expertise requirements, infrastructure limitations and talent pool adaptation. There is an emphasis on early exposure to coding in education and the development of industrial controllers to help with understanding and skill development.

As for the future, it holds opportunities for hybrid software systems, integration of different coding languages, open-source protocols and simplified programming interfaces.

Watch additional parts of this interview series with Ted Thayer of Phoenix Contact and Eric Kozikowski of MxD:

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