Why use PLCs?

The softwiring advantage provided by programmable controllers is tremendous. In fact, it is one of the most important features of PLCs.
Softwiring makes changes in the control system easy and cheap. If you want a device in a PLC system to behave differently or to control a different process element, all you have to do is change the control program. In a traditional system, making this type of change would involve physically changing the wiring between the devices, a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

EXAMPLE

Let’s say that two push buttons, PB1 and PB2, are connected to a PLC.
Two pilot lights, PL1 and PL2, are also connected to the PLC. The way these devices are connected now pressing push button PB1 turns on pilot light PL1 and pressing push button PB2 turns on pilot light PL2.
Let’s say that you want to change this around so that PB1 controls PL2 and PB2 controls PL1. In a traditional system, you would have to rewire the circuit so that the wiring from the first push button goes to the second pilot light and vice versa. However, because these devices are connected to a PLC, making this change is as simple as making a small change in the control program.

In addition to the programming flexibility we just mentioned, PLCs offer other advantages over traditional control systems. These advantages include:
• high reliability
• small space requirements
• computing capabilities
• reduced costs
• ability to withstand harsh environments
• expandability

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