The compact PLC is back: Mitsubishi Electric launches the new iQ-F PLC series
Mitsubishi Electric has expanded its iQ range of PLCs with the compact MELSEC iQ-F series, building on the legacy of the market leading FX platform and broadening the range of available applications with a comprehensive set of 'built in' functions that offer features only previously found as add-ons or which did not exist at all in this category of PLCs.
Sharing many of its features and concepts with other iQ PLCs, the iQ-F series provides all of the benefits that users have come to appreciate in the FX series but with more unified inter-connectivity with other iQ models, a unified programming environment and a much improved user experience.
The first model in the iQ-F series is the FX5U, offering high performance in a compact, cost effective package. The FX5U continues the FX tradition of total flexibility by offering a huge range of new and existing add-on options which further enhance the built-in functions of Ethernet, analogue I/O, data logging, position control, security, communications and networking functions incorporated as standard. The FX5U will provide users with the ability to specify more powerful systems but with fewer overall components, saving time and cost.
The FX5U offers functions which to date have only been available on larger PLCs, such as motion control, data logging and sophisticated security features. For example, the 4-axis simple motion module brings sophisticated motion control in an easy to use format for applications such as food and beverage packaging, providing features such as torque control and circular interpolation.
To meet the future needs of Industry 4.0, the FX5U offers comprehensive data logging functionality as standard, with all data from energy consumption to product throughput captured on a standard SD card for further analysis.
With security being a key issue today, the FX5U offers sophisticated security features to protect both the developer's intellectual property and the final installation. Each PLC can have a security 'key' that allows users to easily manage access to both software and hardware. All of this functionality is combined with a processing speed of 34ns per instruction (twice as fast as competitor PLCs) and a bus speed 150 times faster than previous generation FX PLCs. The result is a platform that allows users to standardise on the FX5U in a host of applications that would previously have required much larger and more costly PLCs.
The FX5U is pro-grammed using the new GX Works3 soft-ware which provides an intuitive, graphical, structured program-ming environment. GX Works3 offers a wide range of programming options including dynamic labels, parameterisation instead of programming and the automatic creation of hardware function blocks and visual function blocks, including HMI templates. This drag-and-drop hardware and software configuration reduces overall configuration time by over 60%, whilst the intuitive approach to programming reduces development costs and development errors.
The FX5U is the first PLC to be released in the iQ-F series, which will extend over the coming years offering even more choice in the compact PLC range.
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