PLCNext – Limitless Possibilities

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Written by Andrew Ellis – Field Application Engineer, Automation and Renewables

As an automation engineer with nearly 20+ years of experience with multiple automation systems across many industries,  you would think that answering questions on automation products would be easy. However, having recently joined Phoenix Contact, one of the more difficult questions I get asked is how would I describe PLCnext?

My first thought is to equate PLCnext to a blank piece of paper. With a pencil you can draw and create plans. Scissors allow you to cut out shapes, and folding the paper with your hands allows you to build. Tools are what make PLCnext so flexible. With the ability to program in IEC 61131, C++, Matlab, Python, Rust, Node Red etc you can find the right tool for the job. PLCnext provides the flexibility of Linux, with the reliability of a PLC.

Then I think to myself, maybe a better analogy would be with a multitool. PLCnext provides a single platform for small scale systems, through to full scale decentralised systems and also edge computing. Extension modules provide further functionality with PROFIsafe, IO link, Machine learning and of course, compatibility with the full range of Axioline IO modules and remote IO.

Or maybe it should be likened to a mobile phone. The PLCnext store allows you to extend the functionality of the system with pre-built software extension, or you can download fully realised apps directly to your controller. Furthermore, if you have an app you wish to commercialise, then let us assist you to take advantage of our eco-system and sell your app on the PLCnext store. Phoenix Contact also provide a social space to exchange ideas and support each other within the PLCnext community.

For more information about PLCnext, contact Andrew on 07584514958 or email

Or maybe I just need to ask what ideas do you have for your next product? Then we can demonstrate how PLCnext can be open to your automation possibilities, rather than limit your solution.



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