A PLC system integrator is a company trained in the installation and integration of programmable logic controller systems.
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are special computers used to automate industrial electrical control systems. A PLC system integrator designs, installs, programs, services, and maintains these computerized control systems.
PLCs are used extensively in industrial automation.
PLC system integrators typically work on the integration of PLCs into larger systems like SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition).
The most common programming language for PLC is ladder logic, but these systems often use more modern graphical programming languages like Function Block Diagram (FBD) and Instruction List (IL).
The role of a PLC system integrator on an industrial automation project is to electrically and logically integrate the various control components on a production floor into one or more computerized control systems. These larger systems typically include:
- -Remote Terminal Units (RTUs),
- -Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs),
- -Network Management Systems (NMS),
- -SCADA, and
- -Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).
The PLC system integrator will typically be responsible for programming the various control systems on a production floor. The day to day work of this job is integrating electrical control components into the system.
The PLC system integrator will also typically commission these systems once they are installed to ensure that everything is working as it should. Commissioning typically includes verifying all wiring between electrical devices, verifying function of electrical equipment, and verifying operation of substation equipment or related infrastructure.
PLC programming is typically divided up into two categories:
- Station Control (PLC I/O), and
- Programming (PLC Logic).
Station control typically deals with the direct control of electrical equipment including motors, valves, and variable frequency drives.
The other category, programming, deals primarily with configuring PLC logic such as timers and logic switch maps.
Both of these areas are typically done exclusively in either laddar logic or Function Block Diagram (FBD).
The modern PLC system integrator should be able to configure and troubleshoot programmable logic controllers in any PLC programming language including ladder, function block, instruction list, structured text, and many graphical programming languages like FBD.
The job of a PLC system integrator typically requires an electrical engineering degree, many years of experience with industrial automation systems, and extensive knowledge of PLCs, SCADA systems, control theory,and control equipment.
PLC System Integrators are often used by large manufacturing companies to take their larger projects. These projects often include the integration of control systems into an existing plant or facility. Projects can range from $50,000 to $5 million or more.
PLC System Integrators are also used by smaller companies that lack the knowledge and expertise to integrate automation equipment on their own production floor. These automation projects may be as simple as a PLC integrated door or as complex as a PLC integrated production line.
Some companies that might benefit from having a PLC system integrator on staff:
- -Automotive Manufacturers,
- -Food and Beverage Manufacturers,
- -Machine Shops, and
- -Other Industrial Manufacturing Operations