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News

ABB take on big players in automation market with scalable PLC

ABB Limited (Group Headquarters) : 10 July, 2006  (New Product)
ABB Limited is increasing its Programmable Logic Controller offering for industrial automation applications with the launch of the AC500 system, comprising of three new automation products; the AC500 PLC, the S500 Input/Output module, and the CP500 HMI operator interface terminal. Available through ABB's low voltage products division, the AC500 system will complement ABB's existing AC31 PLC and the 800xA DCS family of controllers.
ABB Limited is increasing its Programmable Logic Controller offering for industrial automation applications with the launch of the AC500 system, comprising of three new automation products; the AC500 PLC, the S500 Input/Output module, and the CP500 HMI operator interface terminal. Available through ABB's low voltage products division, the AC500 system will complement ABB's existing AC31 PLC and the 800xA DCS family of controllers.

Part of ABB's strategy to dramatically increase its share of the 55million market for PLCs and HMIs by 2009, the AC500 system is being aimed primarily at OEMs and plant operators looking for a system that can be readily expanded to meet changing requirements. Typical potential applications for the system range from water pumping for utilities, through to complex heavy industrial applications, such as automating plastics machinery processes.

The AC500 system can be easily upgraded as user needs change over time. It is available with three different CPUs; PM571 (micro), PM581 (mini) and PM591 (midi). The PM571 has a memory of 64kbits, while the PM591 has a memory of 4MB, to manage complex multiple tasks. Based on a plug and play design, these CPUs can be quickly interchanged when necessary to meet changing demands.

Further flexibility is also provided by the I/O modules, which provides extra expansion options for the AC500 PLC. It also offers decentralised expansion, so that the PLC can be adjusted remotely and control operations remotely.

The AC500 system also includes a decentralised I/O solution, the S500, these modules' heads are fieldbus neutral and can be set up to use any one of five fieldbus protocols. PROFIBUS DP, CANopen, DeviceNet, Modbus and CS31 by using ABB's fieldbus plug. This enables different fieldbus protocols to be used to communicate with any AC500 or S500 device through a single interface.

No electronics are required to install the products, thus reducing stockholding. Installation is also simplified by the wiring terminals using both spring or screw-clamp fittings.

Operating the AC500 PLC is simplified by an LCD display that can help users to identify and locate specific problems via on-screen diagnostic codes. Other key features include an operator keypad, two integrated serial interfaces, and an SD card to download or upload data without the use of a PC. Data can also be written to and from the SD card to enable data logging.

The AC500 system is programmed using the Control Builder Codesys software. Programmed according to IEC 61131-3 standards including Programming languages, Ladder Logic, Function Block diagram, Structured Text, Instruction List, Sequential Flow chart and Continuous Function Chart. Control Builder is built on an open software standard platform, and can be employed for planning, programming, testing and commissioning of an automation application. Amongst its various functions, the software can be used to provide process/operator screens to enable simulation testing offline before installation, avoiding any disruption to existing operations. Upgrades for the Control Builder software are free.

Further monitoring options are provided with the HMI CP500 operator terminal. The CP500 provides local monitoring and control options to users, so that commands can be changed. The CP500 can provide a number of control options including alarm management, recipe management, trend curve analysis and data logging.

The CP500 HMI has ten different displays available, which range from a 2 x 16 character text display to a 10.4 inch TFT touch screen display. The functions of the ten versions vary depending on the customer's needs and cost limits. The full version provides numerous functions including moving graphics, and an interactive touch screen display.

The AC500 system can be bought as a complete solution, or each of the three products can be bought separately, as each can be integrated into an existing automation system. For example, additional I/O modules can be added to different parts of a factory plant, to help handle increased data traffic.

The AC500 also enables users to react quickly to short-notice factory automation changes, by providing remote access. Using Ethernet or serial networks, the PLC can be accessed remotely from a PC, and operators or maintenance staff can change command settings offsite.

The AC500 has recently been employed in a number of applications. It is being used as the control system for the robotics at Nissan's Landers manufacturing plant, based in the UK. It is also being employed as the control interface for a replica of the steam ship SS Great Britain, based in Bristol.
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