Industrial Controllers: Past, Present, Future
Since the advent of the programmable logic controller (PLC), automation controllers of all kinds have made their way into industrial applications, including programmable automation controllers (PACs) and today’s edge programmable industrial controllers (EPICs). Users have many options in terms of cost, footprint, input/output (I/O) density, fieldbus compatibility, communication, programming options, and processing speed with competition among vendors looking to establish supremacy.
While it’s generally true diversity is healthy for the market, it also can be a source of frustration for engineers and end users. Selecting a control platform is often a long-term investment and carries related overhead like training and support contracts. Decision-makers want the reassurance they are putting their money to work in the right way.