Gone are the days of having to manually control aspects of the manufacturing processes with valves and buttons and doing everything by hand. In the modern day and age ripe with technology, automation and electronic controls systems have replaced much of that manual work across the industry.
But creating logic controllers from scratch that are specific to every project or job can be time consuming and expensive. What if there was a better way?
That’s what many of the smart software developers around the world were thinking, and luckily they came up with an incredible solution — open source PLCs.
So, what are open source PLCs and what can open source software do for me?
Strap in and get ready, it’s time to take a look into the exciting world of open source software to see how it works and what it can do for you and your company.
What Are Open Source PLCs?
Anyone looking into open source PLCs most likely already know about PLCs, including what they are and how they work. But let’s do a quick, high-level refresher so everyone is on the same page with this relatively new concept.
We’ll start with the basics. What is a PLC?
A PLC is just a programmable logic controller, which is a programmable computer that is commonly used in various manufacturing processes. As the name implies ('logic controller'), PLCs are used to control a slew of systems and machines during manufacturing processes including running assembly lines and conveyors, controlling robotic systems, or monitoring and controlling anything else that needs high reliability and precision.
With that very high-level definition of what PLCs are and what they are used for out of the way, let’s dive in a little deeper and take a look at what open source PLCs are.
When something is designed and designated as open source, that means that the source code behind it is free to use, edit, and distribute as you see fit. Open source software (including PLCs) is making it easier than ever for companies and businesses all over the world to have access to innovative controllers that they can use as needed for their specific processes and plants.
Through open source code, programmers from anywhere in the world can access it and collaborate with one another to tweak, edit, or change the code to ensure perfect controller operation. It is possible to take bits and pieces of code from here and there and compile it into exactly what is needed rather than having to create all of your own logic from scratch for every project or every system.
Just think about the man-hours and money that can be saved with open source PLCs!
Open Source PLCs and Automation
We want to help you examine how open source software such as PLCs is helping the innovative automation industry like never before. As Industry 4.0 is taking hold and becoming more prevalent, it’s great that open source software is becoming more readily available. Let’s look at a few ways open source PLCs are revolutionizing the automation industry.
As one of the most important aspects of any logic-controlled system, interoperability is of utmost importance when designing new software. Open source PLCs specialize in interoperability due to the ease of changing, editing, and tweaking the code as needed. So any time that new products or systems are introduced into the process, these PLCs can easily be integrated without restrictions.
Remember up above when we mentioned the number of man-hours and the amount of money that can be saved? That’s one of the single biggest benefits of open source PLCs today. As open source software is becoming more and more prevalent in the modern world, it’s easier than ever for developers to take bits of code from here and there that’s already written and compile it into a successful PLC that does exactly what is needed.
Compared to writing all of the PLC logic from scratch every time, this is a game-changer in terms of economics. Without the need to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours developing proprietary control logic for every project, you and your company can save substantial amounts of money year after year.
Easier Control than Ever Before
One of the big things that companies are focusing on with the implementation of custom, open sourced PLCs is the ability to have more control than ever before. How do you currently make adjustments to some of your control systems in your factory? Reach out to technicians in the field and have them manually make changes to the controller, right?
Imagine implementing an open source PLC that makes the controller operable from something as easy to access as your mobile device. That’s something that’s been happening more and more lately, making monitoring and control of systems from anywhere in the world a breeze.
These are just a few of the things that open source PLCs can do you for you and why they are taking the industry by storm. Automation and control systems aren’t going away any time soon, so if you can take advantage of something like open source PLCs, there’s no reason not to. They can be a complete game-changer for your factory and control processes!
Interested in learning more? Visit our website www.premierautomation.com, or talk to one of our specialists today.