So you want to know what the most popular PLC brand is that other contractors/engineers are using. This is a valid question because who would not want the cream of the crop?
The problem is, there are so many great Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) manufacturers that it’s a little tough to say which is the most popular one. It’s like choosing the most popular shoes – it doesn’t exist. There are different types of shoes for different occasions – running, basketball, football, skating, wedding, etc. In our case, it is up to you and your project requirements. Choosing the best PLC brand really depends on the type of application, required features, and so on for the project.
Each PLC manufacturers have their own merits and unique features they offer. Here are a few top manufacturers:
Let’s take a further look at four of these manufacturers to see how they compare.
Another popular PLC manufacturer is ABB. They offer their AC500 line, which is good for small to large applications. Finding replacement parts is easy and affordable for customers because you can use any ABB AC500 module with this line.
This line of controllers come from Rockwell Automation, which is the largest manufacturer used in the U.S. These controllers are safety certified and support SIL 2 & 3 application needs. Their PLCs are widely used in many industries because they create different sized controllers for different sized projects:
- Large Control Systems
- Small Control Systems
- Micro & Nano Control Systems
Large Control Systems
Rockwell Automation refer to these large control systems as their Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs). Their modular architecture, I/O and network options are exceptional and provide reliability as well as performance. These controllers are great for big applications and could easily power up an entire plant with their following software systems:
- ControlLogix Control Systems
- GuardPLC Safety Control Systems
- SoftLogix Control Systems
Small Control Systems
These are great for mid-range applications that offer similar features as larger controllers but also offer flexibility. If you need the features of a large controller but require the flexibility and compactness of a smaller controller, then this mid-range controller is the better choice for you. Use these software to achieve your goal:
- CompactLogix Control Systems
- SmartGuard 600 Safety Controllers with Safety
- SLC 500 Controllers
Micro & Nano Control Systems
If you need something for smaller and simpler machines, such as relay replacement, then these systems will work best. They are also more economical. The compact and ease of use make these great for smaller applications using these software systems:
- Micro800 Control Systems
- MicroLogix Control Systems
Overall, Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley line of controllers provide:
- High reliability
- High maintainability
- Great backward compatibility
- Great support for older generations
- Field technicians available emergency repair or replacement
- Global OEM support for OEM integration
Allen-Bradley is a trusted and popular brand because they take their customers and products seriously. They conduct many usability focus groups and constantly upgrade their systems to make their products easier for customers to use. They understand that their customers provide vital information for the iterations of their products.
Schneider offers different types of products, one of them being PLC. Their PLCs are marketed for industrial and commercial applications.
The following PLC models are meant for high performance compact machines. These are great for position and speed control functions. They are the Modicon models:
- TSX Micro
The following PLC models are used in heat pumps, rooftop units, air handling units, and compressor racks, etc.
- Modicon M168
- Modicon M171
- Twido Programmable Controller
- Zelio Logic
Many know this brand for their wide array of products and solutions. Engineers recognize Siemens as a leader in automation and PLC. They have their own software: SIMATIC (Siemens Automatic). This line of controllers provide excellent standard features, maximum efficiency, and easy configuration.
Siemens provide four varieties of SIMATIC PLCs:
- Basic controllers (S7-1200) – For simple + standalone applications
- Advanced controllers (S7-1500) – For medium + complex applications
- Distributed controllers (ET 200SP) – For decentralized applications
- Software controller (S7-1500) – For PC-based applications
Most of these manufacturers offer modular options. This allows freedom for customers to customize systems per application. Moreover, fixed units are also offered in smaller applications to make these more economical for customers. All of these manufacturers offer great solutions to your automation and PLC needs. Find the right features for your application and you should be satisfied with the results regardless of brand.