Quarterbacking the Evolution of PLCs & IoT

July 9, 2021 by Rich Kurtzman, Content Creator/Writer @ Fathym

It's 4th-and-goal with the game on the line.

You, the manufacturer, have a deadline to meet and time is running out. Either you convert, and are the hero, or fail and fall short of goals. Unfortunately, due to the grueling schedule, your team is tired.

That’s where PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) come through in the clutch.

Programmable Logic Controller

PLCs can watch over the automation process, limiting the number of people needed on the line at one time, while making everything easier for you, the “coach.”

However, the major obstacles limiting the number of Vince Lombardis out there are well-known. PLCs are both traditionally expensive as well as difficult to use. Many range from the $1,000-$3,000 range and some even climb into the $5,000-plus price point. All that before the cost of software, which can hit quadruple-digits as well.

What company can afford that high a price point, especially when you’re talking tens or even hundreds of PLCs needed at one location? That’s crazy talk.

Thankfully, much like the game of football, things have evolved over the last 50 years.

Today’s modern PLC options are broader than ever before. They can – with the right software and some innovative thinking – be not only easy to use, but less expensive too thanks to ever-improving technology.

Think easier to use, smarter, simpler and yes: Better than ever.

Imagine checking in on your manufacturing process from your cell phone just as easily as you check scores on your favorite team. And this isn’t gimmicky hardware either, but robust enough to handle PLC needs large and small.

Checking Status

For years, only a handful of companies have been able to offer PLCs to manufacturers, and that allowed them to charge those outrageous prices. Now, the smaller guys are getting involved and making noise, disrupting that business model and changing it completely.

We’re not talking a small savings, but PLCs which are a fraction (1/10th) the price. The underdog is taking down the big guys, and all that competition is great for manufacturers and the companies who utilize PLCs every day.

But, as the technology in the controllers becomes less expensive, we’re now seeing those giant PLC companies locking in clients with their overly expensive, closed software systems. Again, there’s a better option.

Now, not only can companies seek out less expensive and yet powerful PLCs, they can also choose to operate in an open ecosystem when it comes to the software side of things. While the giants of this space have traditionally controlled the software and held companies for ransom like a hostage crisis, Fathym and our partners are here to break clients free.

Fathym

We’re talking expansion and customization as unique as a coach’s playbook, and an ability to adapt on the fly to ever-changing conditions.

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Want to know more about this newer, easier, smaller company with a more approachable price point? We’ll be introducing you to PLCnext and Phoenix Contact in our next blog.

Phoenix Contact

Just like the game of football – evolving with the forward pass 100 years ago, and into the exciting, entertaining empire of today – the world of PLCs is evolving right before our eyes.