Your Guide To Electrical PLC Control Panels


At Bensons Panels, we design, manufacture, and install a range of bespoke electrical PLC control panels for a range of industry sectors, to provide our clients with total control over key processes and functions.

What Are PLCs?

PLCs are Programmable Logic Controllers, small industrial computers with modular components that are designed to automate control processes in field devices. Often used in industrial plants, factories, and leisure facilities, PLCs control a variety of components, including lights, fans, pumps and motors.

Before the development of PLCs, automation of control processes was only possible with complex and inflexible hardwired circuitry. PLCs have been in development since the 1960s, gaining in speed and memory capabilities, to simplify and improve automation in a range of settings.

What Components Are In a PLC?

A PLC system typically consists of the following components:

-Power supply, which is connected to the mains electricity to supply voltage to the PLC (not the field devices, which require their own power source).

-Input/output modules, which are connected to field devices, both analogue and digital. Input devices include sensors and switches, while output devices can typically include lamps, valves and motors.

-Processor, consisting of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and memory. The processor uses pre-programmed software that is saved in the memory to determine how the field devices that are connected to the input and output modules should be operated.

-HMI, a Human Machine Interface, will provide operators and engineers with a means to interact with the PLC, controlling and configuring its operation as required.

-Programming device, most often a laptop or desktop computer that runs the PLC software that facilitates accurate decision-making.

The software which runs on the processor is generally referred to as the PLC programme. The programme monitors the state of the various input devices and makes logic-based decisions which in turn are fed back into the system via the output devices connected to the PLC. The programme is typically written in ladder logic, effectively it is the ‘brain’ of the system which makes operation decisions based on the inputs received and the algorithms pre-defined within the programme. A well designed and well written programme is essential to the operation of the overall system.

How Does a PLC Work?

PLCs are incredibly powerful computers that implement significant improvements to processes in a variety of situations. The operation of a PLC can be summarised in three simple steps:

1. The CPU constantly monitors the status of inputs and assesses the information received.

2. The CPU then executes the instructions from the PLC software to determine what action to take.

3. The CPU operates the outputs, for example to turn off a motor or to open a valve.

Once the user has determined the inputs and outputs, the PLC operates in a repeating loop, so that each process is performed in the same way every time, unless instructed otherwise.

For Reliable Electrical PLC Control Panels, Contact Us Today

At Bensons Panels, our PLC control panels are used to deliver complex functionality in swimming pool filtration systems, wave machines, and moving pool floors. We can also design advanced PLC control solutions for manufacturing systems.

To find out more or to tell us about your project, please get in touch on 01924 975578.

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