Inside Turck’s Industrial Control Edge Devices - Embedded PLC & ARGEE Logic Engines
By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
The whole point behind the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0, in the industrial space, is to help take control to the industrial network edge. At Pack Expo 2016, Turck demonstrated new leadership products that are designed to do exactly that. Keeping consistent with Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 concepts and architectures, Turck has embedded PLC control into their traditional products, thereby extending capabilities to be a control company.
IP67 Compact IEC 61131-3 Controller
The first product Turck introduced was the TBEN-L-PLC compact controller, a PLC which supports multiple industrial communication protocols. This provides panel free modular machine control with a complete Codesys 3 embedded IEC 61131-3 PLC in an IP67 form factor with a temperature range from -40…+70 °C. The units can be deployed directly in the field, enabling the implementation of machine and plant controls without the need for a control cabinet. Machine automation concepts and the use of pre-assembled cables are designed to reduce installed cost and simplify commissioning. The embedded ARM Cortex A8, 32 bit, 800 MHz processor runs the PLC controller, communications and serves up WEB pages. The unit has eight digital I/O channels for direct connection of sensors and actuators. Communications interfaces include Industrial Ethernet protocols PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, Modbus RTU, CANopen, RS232, RS485, and SAE J1939 allowing the embedded PLC to communicate with other networked I/O, other controllers, HMI, Historians, and Enterprise.
TBEN-PLC combines I/O and PLC in one IP67 package.
ARGEE Transforms I/O Devices into Field Logic Controllers (FLCs)
Turck has embraced the concept of self-sufficient industrial control edge devices, specifically devices that are simple to program, without PLC programming knowledge, using ARGEE technology. ARGEE enables users have embedded control logic in I/O devices without a PLC. This is designed to drive down the cost per I/O point and increases flexibility in control. ARGEE functions include Timer, Coil, Count, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Modulo, Absolute Value, Minimum Value, Maximum Value, AND, OR, NOT, >,>=, <, <=, If-Then-Else, and Change of State.
ARGEE technology is standard in all Turck multiprotocol Ethernet I/O devices. These devices can be used on any PROFINET®, Modbus TCP™ or EtherNet/IP™ platform, and include TBEN-L/TBEN-S on-machine block I/O; BL compact on-machine flexible block I/O; and FEN20 In-cabinet block I/O.
The ARGEE environment is accessible via an HTML5-compatible web browser, which eliminates the need for complex third-party software or licensing common with PLCs. Inside the ARGEE environment, the user can set condition and action statements that can be carried out by the I/O device. The application’s intuitive design includes a flow chart, similar to ladder logic, which allows for easy programing by users of all experience levels.
Timer configuration with fill in the blank dialogs.
Control and sequencing logic is easily created.
Configuration dialogs for communication with PLCs or other systems.
I also discussed, with Turck, the potential applications of ARGEE enabled products. Here are some examples at where this technology could have an impact:
Standalone logic controller
Engineers use the flow chart interface to program and upload logic directly to the multiprotocol Ethernet I/O block. The block will carry out the actions and report back. No PLC is required.
Local PLC Backup
FLC can be used as a local backup for a PLC. If the PLC loses power or connection, FLC technology can do one of two things: either take over the application and run it from the block, or take over the application and safely shut down the process. This can help avoid downtime and troubleshoot where a problem exists on the line.
Partner for PLC processing:
FLC can also be used in tandem with the PLC as distributed control in larger automation environments. The FLC-capable I/O block can locally monitor and control an application and compile data, and send that data via defined variables to the PLC to lighten its data input and output load. This is helpful in high speed applications, such as conveyor belts, where sending data in real time (network latency) can be problematic.
Additional functions can be added to existing installations without ripping and replacing the existing feel the using these Industrial Control Edge Devices new logic can be added without disturbing the existing PLC program and operating parameters can be communicated c or directly other systems over established industrial networks. This avoids disruptive and expensive to have of replacing existing PLCs to add additional I/O points and reprogramming.
Thoughts & Observations
Turck is embracing Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things concepts with these new products putting control and logic in industrial edge devices.
By embedding PLC control into their traditional products, Turck provides building blocks for users and machine builders for more effective and lower cost controls and automation, and hopefully, will spur even greater innovation in automation in the near future.
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