Isolation is Good When It’s Digital: Protect Your People and Devices

The programmable logic controller (PLC) is considered the main control center for manufacturing machines. Sensors provide input to the PLC about their status so that it can automatically make decisions about the manufacturing process. The PLC is also the interface to a particular machine in real time to allow the human aspect of machine operation to be more automated and secure.

Today’s smart factories have sensors that report to both the cloud and the PLC simultaneously. In this way, locally collected data not sent to the cloud can be tracked and analyzed for preventative maintenance of individual machines in the facility. The PLC sends aggregated data, which includes sensor performance and other details relating to the manufacturing process to the control centers and the cloud.

The PLC data, in conjunction with data from the sensor and other devices, can be pulled together to show the “big picture” that results from the collection of the “big data.” The bottom line is that the PLC is an integral part of IIoT, Industry 4.0 and today’s smart factory.

Read this paper from Silicon Labs to learn more, including how CMOS-based digital isolation is immune to the output variations that plague LED-based optocouplers. Digital isolators provide more than 10 times the reliability rate of optocouplers, enabling system builders to offer more extended functionality to their PLCs and longer product warranties.

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