Programmable Controllers

The programmable controllers can be used in the robot workcell when there is a need for a higher-level controller. The electromechanical relays are replaced by the introduction of programmable controllers (PC) on the year 1960.

A programmable controller produces the output signals according to the logical and other operations carried on the input signals. It is a small-sized digital operating system with the programmable memory, which can be highly consistent, and flexible. Most importantly, the human workers with the knowledge of logic diagrams of relay control panels can easily learn its function.

A programmable controller is programmed to find out the series of operations and production of I/O signals. The program is indicated by the similar logic diagrams known as ladder diagrams. The typical functions obtained with the help of a programmable controller are the following:

  • Controller relay functions
  • Timing functions
  • Counting functions
  • Arithmetic functions
  • Analog control functions

The above functions help a programmable controller to accomplish a higher-level controller for a robot workcell. There are various programmable controllers with several hundreds of I/O ports, which is more than a robot controller. As a result, it gets the capacity to control many complicated activities on the workplace.

A programmable controller is used as a complete workcell control system in the robots that perform different welding operations with an automobile body spot welding line. There are several features in the programmable controllers such as Safety monitoring, Operator interface, and Maintenance & diagnostic functions, which brings high capabilities to it than the robot controllers.

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