Exploring the Future of the PLC Market

Published: 27 Sep 2017

The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) has become an essential component in the factory automation and process control space. PLC is a digitally operating electronic system that uses a programmable memory for the internal storage of user-oriented instructions to execute specific functions such as logic, sequencing, timing, counting, and arithmetic. In addition, PLC uses both digital and analogue inputs and outputs (I/O) to control various types of machines or processes.

In 1968, when General Motors wanted to replace the hard-wired relay system of assembly lines with one that could be controlled electronically, for performing basic arithmetic operations and printer control, the company was determined not to replace the schematic diagram-based programming, i.e., the ladder logic programming. The reasoning behind such a step was that operators required only a little time to train and execute a ladder logic program. With advances in both hardware and software, PLCs can now be operated through almost any programming language. However, to maintain interoperability, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed an open international standard, IEC 61131-3, which standardized five PLC programming languages.

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