Mitsubishi Electric has released the company’s smallest and most powerful compact PLC to date – the FX5UC series micro PLC. With its diminutive size, this compact PLC is set to help machine builders and manufacturers pack more functionality into a smaller space, while also providing the web access and network connectivity demanded by smart factory applications.
André Hartkopf, Product Manager Compact PLC and HMI, Factory Automation EMEA at Mitsubishi Electric Europe says, “As part of the high-functioning MELSEC iQ-F series, the new FX5UC model – the ‘C’ denotes compact – is engineered to handle the increasingly sophisticated data processing and communication tasks required in smart manufacturing. More precisely, this tiny PLC houses the same performance CPU as Mitsubishi Electric’s FX5U model in a product as small as a micro FX3S.”
The FX5UC compact PLC features a program memory of 128 000 steps and a large device memory. It has an execution speed of 34 ns, resulting in extremely fast machine responses and increased productivity. In addition, it can perform positioning and advanced motion control functions for up to eight synchronised axes, eliminating the need for dedicated controllers that would increase hardware and maintenance costs, programming time and equipment footprint.
Hartkopf notes, “More multitasking, built-in functions include, for example, security key authentication – to prevent data theft or tampering while still allowing operators to access system status safely via the Web and interact with onboard features such as data logging.”
Very noticeably, the CPU module is a quarter of the size of a conventional one, so it can fit into smaller spaces, freeing up valuable on-machine or production floor space usually occupied by larger more conventional control panels. Other features that contribute to the space-saving focus include the incorporation of 16 digital inputs and 16 built-in relay / transistor outputs, obviating the need to install additional, space-consuming terminal blocks in many applications.
The FX5UC PLC also benefits automation system engineers and integrators. By incorporating flexibility and scalability, the designers of this compact PLC sought to deliver an ideal solution for cost-sensitive small machines as well as larger, networked multi-PLC systems. Networking capabilities help manufacturers develop more integrated automated applications, especially when using other Mitsubishi Electric automation solutions. In this scenario complete manufacturing lines can be controlled, allowing for simpler system architectures and more transparent data management. On the other hand, open connectivity ensures compatibility with a range of network options.
Many small details have been considered with the aim of increasing user flexibility and making installation easy. The use of spring clamp terminals, for example, speeds up wiring activities while ensuring reliable and vibration-resistant connections. Modules can be unlocked from the rail and moved together with their wires, making maintenance and system change tasks easier.
Mitsubishi Electric has history with the micro-PLC, having launched its first range of micro controllers, the FX family of PLCs, more than 35 years ago as part of the MELSEC-F series. Over the years, the FX product portfolio has grown to deliver state-of-the-art solutions to address different applications and requirements. The quality, compact size and cost competitiveness of control systems built around them established a precedent for creating new opportunities and revolutionised the industrial automation landscape. This still applies today with some 19 million installed MELSEC-FX controllers.For more information contact Mitsubishi Electric Europe, email: Monika.Torkel@meg.mee.com, or visit: eu3a.mitsubishielectric.com/fa