What is a PLC and what does a PLC do?


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Here are some quick answers to some common questions that we see on PLCs.
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What is the definition of a PLC?

PLC stands for Programmable Logic Controller. Some people also refer to them as industrial computers.

What does a PLC do?

A PLC on a simple level uses logic to convert an input into a set output. This is much like a computer turns you pushing a button on your keyboard (input) into a letter being displayed on a screen (output). A PLC will generally do the same thing in an industrial application. This can be something simple like pushing a green button will make your conveyor run to complex series of movements by a robot that are monitored through sensors.

How do I pick a PLC?

There are a vast variety of PLCs available and range in complexity and price. The first thing that you will need to do is define what you want your PLC to control (outputs) and how you want to control it(inputs) With this information you will know the number of inputs and outputs that you will need.

Other important factors in picking a PLC are Supply Power, Operator Interface, Communication Protocols, and Programming. Here we have another post that can help you in choosing a PLC.