Describing its new FX5UC controller a micro PLC risks its dismissal by users of so called proper PLCs. However, in doing so, they seriously risks undervaluing this new generation micro PLC from Mitsubishi Electric. With over thirty-five years’ experience designing and making PLCs and over 19 million FX installations, this is not a product to disregard. Its diminutive size allows machine builders and manufacturers to pack more functionality into a smaller space. Moreover, it does this whilst also providing the web access and network connectivity demanded by the latest Smart Factory applications.
The FX5UC is ideal for designers looking to deliver cost sensitive small machines as well as larger, networked multi-PLC systems. Now re-positioned as part of the high functioning MELSEC iQ-F series the new FX5UC model handles the sophisticated data processing and communication tasks demanded by Smart Manufacturing applications.
This compact PLC features a program memory of 128,000 steps and a large device memory. Also, it has an execution speed of 34 ns, resulting in fast machine responses and increased productivity. The FX5UC also performs positioning and advanced motion control functions for up to eight synchronised axes. Thus it eliminates the need for dedicated controllers that would increase hardware and maintenance costs, programming time and equipment footprint.
Importantly, the CPU module is a quarter the size of a conventional controller and offers 32 I/O points. It fits into smaller spaces, freeing-up valuable on-machine or production floor space usually occupied by more conventional control panels. Other features also contribute to the space saving such as incorporating 16 digital inputs and 16 built-in relay / transistor outputs. This avoids the need to install extra, space consuming terminal blocks in many applications. A built-in security function prevents data theft, tampering, mis-operation, illegal execution, etc. caused by unauthorised access from a third party.
Enhanced micro PLC functions
The data logging function allows periodic saving of information from the computer and network equipment to a SD memory card. The analysis of issues is by trigger logging, which logs the situation before and after the occurrence of trouble. Important data can be selectively saved by setting conditions. The FTP server function allows data logging from a remote location without going to the site. Managing the logging of multiple files from an office computer, reduces management and maintenance work.
The Ethernet connectivity help manufacturers to develop more integrated automated applications, especially when using other Mitsubishi Electric automation solutions. It supports the control of complete manufacturing lines using simpler system architectures and more transparent data management. Open connectivity ensures compatibility with a wide choice of network options.
The adoption of vibration resistant spring-clamp terminals shortens cabling time and improves reliable operation. Terminal unlocking tabs make it simple to remove of the terminal rails without disturbing the wiring. This ensures maintenance and system change and module replacement tasks are both easier and faster. It also eliminates the need for terminal blocks, cutting pane sizes and shipping costs.
The high quality, compact size and cost competitiveness of control systems built around Mitsubishi micro PLCs established new machine control opportunities and revolutionised the industrial automation landscape. FX5UC is from the same stable and can be viewed here.