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Programmable Automation Controller

Automation controllers continue to morph from traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to programmable automation controllers (PACs) that contain PC-type functionality with PLC familiarity.

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The Productivity3000 Programmable Automation Controller is AutomationDirect's newest generation of industrial controllers featuring a modular, rack-based system of up to 116,000 I/O points with local, expansion and remote I/O bases and a full lineup of discrete, analog and specialty I/O modules. The high-performance CPU has 50Mb memory, fast scan times and industry-leading seven communication ports for $599.

The P3-550 CPU features a 4 line x 10 character LCD ideal to display system alarms and information or user-defined messages. Seven onboard communications ports support USB, Ethernet and serial devices. A USB plug-and-play connection is available for programming and online monitoring. A USB local expansion port supports up to four additional I/O bases, while a dedicated Ethernet remote I/O expansion port can connect up to 32 remote base groups; each remote group supports up to four additional local bases, for over 116,000 maximum I/O. AutomationDirect’s GS series of AC drives can also be networked to the CPU directly from this port. An additional USB port allows users to log data from the system into a removable USB drive, as well as transfer projects to and from the CPU. A second Ethernet port supports programming, monitoring, email and Modbus TCP network communications. One RS232 and one RS485 serial port can communicate via Modbus or ASCII protocols for local networking or custom device interfaces.

Two power supplies (AC- and DC-powered) are available; both provide isolated 24 VDC, 5 VDC, and 3.3 VDC to the Productivity3000 bases. I/O bases are available in 3, 5, 8, and 11-slot models; any combination of I/O modules may be installed in a base without power budget considerations. Over 35 I/O modules capture and control a wide range of field signals, including up to 64-point DC I/O, 16-point AC I/O, and analog voltage, current or temperature. The patent-pending LCD interface built into each analog module displays field signal levels as well as module and signal faults. Hot swappable I/O support allows exchange of modules or complete remote bases without interrupting the process.

The free downloadable ProductivitySuite programming software features tag name-based programming for better documentation management and more seamless integration with HMIs. The data is stored in true database format so it can be searched, filtered and sorted; a .csv file can be imported to update the tags, or the file created every time the project is saved can be imported into other databases, such as the C-more HMI configuration file. The onboard program documentation feature stores the program, tag database and all program comments to the CPU so the information is available to any PC connected to the system. Run-time editing transfers logic edits without stopping the executing program.

The software can perform hardware auto-discovery and configuration, including local and remote bases and I/O, plus GS series AC drives. The user can also configure the system offline by dragging and dropping bases and modules. After configuration is complete, modules are electronically keyed to prevent incorrect replacement.

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