PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

AutomationDirect introduces programmable automation controller

October 2011 PLCs, DCSs & Controllers

The Productivity3000 PAC is AutomationDirect’s newest generation of industrial controllers that combines features and capabilities of a PC-based control system with that of a typical PLC. Productivity3000 is a modular, rack-based system of up to 116 000 I/O points with local, expansion and remote I/O bases and a full line-up of discrete, analogue and specialty I/O modules. The high-performance CPU has 50 Mb memory, fast scan times and seven communication ports.

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. The 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, e-mail 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) 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 analogue voltage, current or temperature. The patent-pending LCD interface built into each analogue 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 P3-RS remote slave module features a 4 line x 10 character LCD display and communications ports for serial devices. Up to 32 P3-RS remote slaves can be connected to a single P3-550 CPU for a remote I/O network. The CPU can be programmed and monitored remotely through one of the USB ports on this module.

For wiring most I/O modules, pre-wired ZIPLinks wiring systems are available to eliminate the need for hand wiring modules to terminal blocks. Five ZIPLink module types are available: feed-through, fuse, relay, sensor input, and pigtail cable.

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 allows 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.

Powerful processes in the programming environment reduce development time. Timesavers include combined ladder logic and function block programming, task management that minimises scan time, advanced instructions that simplify complex tasks, and an exhaustive Help file that covers both hardware and software topics.

DataWorx P3K data logging software is available to provide an easy and inexpensive way to collect data from the Productivity 3000 PAC by connecting it to enterprise database systems. Report-by-exception operation eases network traffic by sending information only when needed. It also allows the device complete control to store data to a computer database or to store it locally if the network is down.

For more information contact Winston Ilsley, Directlogic Automation, +27 (0)12 654 6212,,


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