PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

Schneider Electric announces a new era of control

June 2019 PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

Schneider Electric’s new high-end Modicon M580 Ethernet programmable automation controller (ePAC) features redundant processors, native Ethernet, and cybersecurity embedded into its core. It combines native Ethernet capabilities, high performance, high availability for processors and networks, improved industrial cybersecurity, greater flexibility in design and improved agility for operations. Fitted with sensors and Internet connectivity, these devices can communicate and interact with each other over the Web, and can be remotely controlled and monitored.

The IIoT refers to the billions of industrial devices connected to wireless networks gathering and sharing data. The introduction of inexpensive sensors and high-bandwidth wireless networks means that even the tiniest devices can now be connected and provided the intelligence that enables them to be monitored and tracked, sharing data and communicating with other devices. This mountain of data can then be analysed and acted on in real-time to make better informed process decisions. As advances in technology make it more cost-effective to deploy the IIoT, industries will need to acquire a strategic approach to integrating new sensor data with pre-existing data environments. The competitive advantage this data can bring means industrial organisations are looking for ways to integrate controls, automation and data analytics visualisation software, to gain competitive operational benefits.

EcoStruxure for converged solutions

With this in mind, Schneider Electric has spent decades developing solutions to help manufacturing organisations reap the benefits from their systems and harness the power of the Internet. Firstly, the company’s EcoStruxure empowers customers to implement scalable and converged IT/OT solutions to deliver innovation at every level. This interoperable technology platform unites energy, automation and software, ensuring that end-users enjoy enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity.

“The company’s commitment to innovation around digitisation over the last twenty years, has also inspired the development of IIoT solutions for edge control such as the Modicon M580, its flagship controller with Ethernet at its core,” comments Marc Ramsay, VP Industry Business at Schneider Electric.

A platform that optimises open networks, the M580 ePAC provides industrial plant operators with the power to design, implement and run a process that actively employs the benefits of open networking, helping customers to access consistent and accurate data for timely decisions, and reduce downtime with detailed insight into alarms and events. In addition, it enables customers to diagnose and identify the root causes of problems, as well as make informed decisions about plant operations and energy management.

Secure and versatile

With the Achilles Level 2 certification, this controller was built with security, performance, and sustainable evolution in mind. It is the most advanced PAC ever designed by Schneider Electric in terms of industrial cybersecurity and is tested according to Ethernet services and protocols, such as ARP, ICMP, TCP, IP and others. Firmware integrity is checked at every start-up and is compiled and stored in memory, preventing its recompilation by an outsider.

Mark Williams, director of the Plant Solutions Competency Centre at Schneider Electric says: “The M580 ePAC is leading the next generation of PACs that leverage open and fast Ethernet communications. Powerful performance is a core feature of the ePAC. It delivers high levels of computing power through a multicore processor, allowing high speed connectivity to network devices while enhancing resistance to cybersecurity threats. In addition, upgrading to the M580 ePAC requires no additional investment in wiring, software development or training.”

The M580 is also compatible with the xBus communications of the Modicon M340 and Premium PLC. Users can easily switch between the different controller sizes in the Modicon range without changing their I/O racks and cabling. It has been built for PlantStruxure, a collaborative and integrated automation architecture that brings together the telemetry, PLC/scada, and DCS offerings, with complete lifecycle services to help make operations more efficient and seamless. From initial design to modernisation, PlantStruxure transparently connects the control, operation and enterprise levels of the business.

For more information contact Silindelokuhle Dumakude, Schneider Electric SA, +27 11 254 6400,,


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