Soft logic systems (hard, deterministic, real time control on the PC) are 1997’s vogue item – alongside Web browser systems and remoting via the Internet. Introductions and enhancements in the last month have included packages from GE Fanuc, Intellution, PC Soft and Wonderware.
GE Fanuc’s is Cimplicity PC Control. Chris Milburn of GE said that the package is another option in the provision of open solutions. `We feel that PC Control is only in its infancy, and provides a new alternative for control solutions, taking advantage of the growing power of PC technology.’
Meanwhile, Intellution’s introduction is v4.0 of its Paradym-31 NT-based graphical softlogic package which, it says, is now seamlessly integrated into its 32-bit FIX SCADA software. The result, according to the company, is a single-step configuration procedure in which I/O points are defined once only – reducing duplication, engineering effort and errors.
WizPLC, from PC Soft, is being marketed in much the same vein. PC Soft says that allowing users to develop both PLC and SCADA applications in the one integrated PC environment cuts application costs by speeding development and reducing manpower needed.
Finally, Wonderware’s offering, InControl, part of its FactorySuite bundled software package, is similar in scope. Again, the emphasis is on complete integration of open functionality all on the PC.
Milburn sees soft logic as complementing conventional PLC technology `which will continue for the foreseeable future where size, high performance and ease of maintenance are critical factors’.