Browse Definitions :
Definition

programmable logic controller (PLC)

A programmable logic controller (PLC) is a small, modular solid state computer with customized instructions for performing a particular task. PLCs, which are used in industrial control systems (ICS) for a wide variety of industries, have largely replaced mechanical relays, drum sequencers and cam timers.

PLCs are useful tools for repeatable processes because they have no mechanical parts and they can gather information. Each central processor unit (CPU) continually loops through an input scan, program scan, output scan and housekeeping mode, repetitively performing a single task while monitoring conditions. The information the controller gathers can be used as feedback to guide needed changes and improvements to processes, some of which can be performed automatically according to the device’s coding.

PLCs take up less space, perform more complex tasks and are more customizable than the mechanical technologies they have replaced. They are known for their ability to operate continuously without maintenance and have had a great impact on digitizing a great many industries, particularly manufacturing. The first PLC, for example, was invented by Dick Morley in 1969 for General Motors and performed uninterrupted for 20 years before being retired.

Five programming languages are used to code PLCs, as specified by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61131. They are Ladder Logic, Function Block Diagram (FBD), Structured Text (ST), Instruction List (IL) and Sequential Function Chart (SFC). Should significant code changes be required and the PLC's memory is embedded, the controller can be recoded in place. When the PLC's memory is not embedded on the circuit board and significant code changes are required, the memory can be removed from an exterior slot on the PLC and replaced without requiring the assistance of a programmer on site. 

This was last updated in March 2016

Continue Reading About programmable logic controller (PLC)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • Port Scan

    A port scan is a series of messages sent by someone attempting to break into a computer to learn which computer network services ...

  • DMZ (networking)

    In computer networks, a DMZ (demilitarized zone), also sometimes known as a perimeter network or a screened subnetwork, is a ...

  • quantum supremacy

    Quantum supremacy is the experimental demonstration of a quantum computer's dominance and advantage over classic computers by ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

Close