Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

What Are Some of the Industries That Use PLC Programming?

Programmable Logic Controller  (PLC) programming is an essential component of any commercial or industrial control system. It can be programmed by a user to perform many different functions, such as:

  • Input/Output Control
  • Logic
  • Timing
  • Counting
  • Communication
  • Data processing
  • File processing

This makes programable logic controllers very useful for many different industries.

Electrician installing PLC from an industrial power company in Memphis

HVAC Industry

Controlling the air temperature and quality in any large building is a daunting challenge for anyone, especially if you have multiple tenants with different temperature preferences. Heating, cooling, and ventilating processes require numerous sensors to keep the temperature at a comfortable level and possibly even protect sensitive products or equipment such as IT infrastructure. An HVAC system with one central point of control supported by multiple PLCs can save a business thousands of dollars in energy costs.

Oil Production and Refining Industry

Oil and gas production and processing processes are extraordinarily complex and rely upon exact mixtures of chemicals, temperatures, and pressures. For the right chemical processes to happen, there needs to be precise control of many variables. And PLCs are the perfect technology for handling these tasks.

Glass Industry

To produce glass, the material ratios need to be precise and follow in-depth procedures to ensure that the final glass products meet specifications.

Paper Industry

PLCs are helpful in the paper production process. They also help manage the operating speeds of rollers and giant offset printing presses that require precise timing to ensure that the final printing is perfect.

Cement Industry

The mix must have the correct proportions of many raw materials in a kiln to produce high-quality cement. PLCs help ensure that these materials are added, mixed, and monitored to make high-quality cement. Cement companies must use a distributed control system that includes PLC controls to manage coal kiln, ball milling, and shaft kiln.

Other Industries

Almost every manufacturing industry relies on PLCs to automate tedious or error-prone processes that can produce millions of dollars of waste each year. Here is a sampling of the other industries that use PLC technologies extensively:

  • Aerospace
  • Food production and processes
  • Health care
  • Plastics
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Transportation systems
  • Warehouse fulfillment
  • Traffic control
  • Mining
  • Steel production

The use of PLCs during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed many businesses to continue work as usual despite the difficult circumstances.

Let Tri-State Electrical Contractors Automate Your Workflow

We provide a complete range of industrial electrical services that can result in considerable savings. Our PLC retrofits improve your efficiency and reduce your energy costs. To learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your industrial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.

Industrial electrician installing an industrial control system

What Are Industrial Control Systems?

An industrial control system is a type of control system used to automate various industrial processes. This includes multiple devices, networks, systems, instruments, and controls that work together to handle complex industrial tasks. They are used widely throughout manufacturing, energy production, water treatment, transportation, packing and shipping, and many other industries.

Industrial Control System Designs

How the industrial control system is designed depends on this industry and the specific tasks that need to be automated. But most of these systems use one or more controllers mounted on or near the equipment performing the automated tasks by the industrial control. These controllers typically use a front panel to program or manually control the process.

Industrial electrician installing an industrial control system

These industrial control systems can have many controllers networked together to control multiple processes to perform complex, sequential operations using either local or remote interfaces. There are two major types of industrial control system configurations.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)         

SCADA industrial control systems do not provide complete control of the process, but they focus on the capabilities and provide control at the supervisory level. SCADA systems typically use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) placed in various locations. They acquire and transmit data and integrate with a Human Machine Interface (HMI) to provide centralized monitoring and control for many process inputs and outputs. This allows workers to manage processes via long distances, reducing the need for numerous local workers or workers to travel vast distances between work environments. Examples of some tasks that SCADA systems typically automate include:

  • Opening and closing valves, breakers, and circuits
  • Collecting data from sensors
  • Monitoring local environments for alarms

This makes SCADA systems used widely in the water treatment and distribution, electric power production and transmission, and pipeline management industries.

Distributed Control System (DCS)            

Distributed Control Systems control production systems for a specific function in one location. Thus, each function or set of functions is controlled by a particular control system and not handled by one control system for the entire process. This is good for complex processes because if there is a failure in one part of the process, you can still continue your operations outside of it.

As a result, you see distributed control systems in many industries that use complex processes over a large area, such as:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Electric power generation
  • Food processing
  • Chemical and oil refining
  • Water and wastewater treatment

Either way, both types of industrial control systems require experienced, expert industrial electricians to make sure that they are installed and operating right.

Tri-State Electrical is the Premier Industrial Electrical Company Serving the Southeastern US

We provide a wide variety of industrial electric services, including industrial control systems. Learn more about how Tri-State Electrical can help you with your commercial electrical project, give us a call at (423) 800-2134, fill out our simple online form, or email us at info@tristateec.com today.