Written by Tony Deane, Automation Manager
Customer: “So, you’re saying I can download apps onto a PLC rather than having to program it?”
Phoenix Contact: “That’s correct”
Customer: “Really? You mean like an app onto my Smart Phone?”
Phoenix Contact: “Yes, that is exactly what I mean!”
Does this seem farfetched? Read on.
Imagine you are a Plant Project engineer at a factory who, during the annual shutdown, must provide a new waste effluent pumping system solution with 4 pumps to cope with increased production wastewater due to plant expansion.
These pumps all service the factory and, depending on the prevailing production conditions, sometimes 1 pump can cope with the demand and at other times 2,3 or even 4 pumps are required. Not to mention the pumps must be run for an equal number of hours annually to ensure even wear on each pump.
You have been tasked with finding a PLC control system to run the system and you have a limited budget that must not be exceeded, and you have a deadline to meet.
What are your options? bearing in mind that the pumps must be of the highest quality and the control panel must meet the regulatory standard and obviously the PLC control system must fulfil the criteria laid down above.
There can be no compromise on the quality of the pumping equipment or the PLC control system in the control panel. This is a given. Now the only thing left to do is provide the PLC and the control program to enable the system to carry out the task at hand whilst keeping to your budget for the project and keeping to your deadline.
Having chosen your PLC controller,
- Would you write the program yourself?
Depending on your programming skills and time constraints this may not be the best way to go.
- Would you commission an independent software engineer to write your program?
Again, this route could be both expensive and problematic in terms of individual interpretation of requirements and costs.
- Would you commission a Specialist Systems Integrator?
This option would probably have a favourable outcome. But it would come at a price.
The PLCnext Store offers a Pump Control app for €65 that, when downloaded onto the correct combination of PLCnext controller and Axioline Smart Elements IO, offers a complete solution to the scenario described.
Compare that to the cost of developing a control program as well as visualisation via HTML5 to control 4 pumps and I am sure you will agree this concept is truly revolutionary. This is just one example of the limitless possibilities of the PLCnext Ecosystem.
The Pump Control app was produced by Phoenix Contact. There are many different genres of app to choose from including Solution apps, Extension apps, Function Block Libraries
- Solution app, as described above.
- Function Extension apps that complement the existing program on the PLC (MQTT Broker, SQL Database connector, AWS IOT Client)
- Function Block Libraries (Serial Comms, Analog, Datalogger etc)
- Third Party Runtime (Codesys)
Follow this link to view the Pump Control app on the PLCnext Store.
Setting up an account is free of charge and you can even register as a contributor so that if, in the future, you develop your own solution and wish to profit from your intellectual property, you can publish your app for sale via download on the PLCnext Store.
This is how the PLCnext Ecosystem will grow with solution contributions from third party contributors as well making The PLCnext Store a truly opensource community.
For information on how to download from the PLCnext Store as well as becoming a contributor please contact Tony Deane on 07824 437393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PLCnext Technology The ecosystem for limitless automation.