- 1 5 Advantages of using Omron Sysmac Platform
for Industry 4.0
- 1.1 High Precision Capability Sysmac Platform Machine Controllers for the next era
- 1.2 Built-in Motion Control for Omron Sysmac Platform
- 1.3 Built-in Ethernet Port for Ethernet/IP and TCP/IP Support
- 1.4 SQL Database & OPC UA Compatibility for Industry 4.0
- 1.5 Omron Sysmac Studio: Streamlined Programming Platform for Everyone
- 2 Summary
5 Advantages of using Omron Sysmac Platform
for Industry 4.0
Omron Sysmac Platform has numerous advantages. Sysmac Platform is the Omron’s latest fully integrated automation platform to provide complete control for all devices inside the entire machine. It allows synchronous control to all kinds of devices such as Motion Control devices (Inverters and Servo drives), Remote IO Systems, Vision inspection System, Robotic and Safety controllers by using EtherCAT which is the fastest device network. Also it has capability to provide vertical integration between operation technology layers to information technology layer with continuous streams of data to improve machine efficiency and productivity.
High Precision Capability Sysmac Platform Machine Controllers for the next era
N Series machine controllers, the heart of the Omron Sysmac Platform, have a wide range of models which provide engineers to choose from a small-scale automated machine to a gigantic control system. The high speed and high precision control capability of the machine controller is one of the advantages compared to its other Omron PLCs. These controllers are using the Intel chip multicore processor processing with the speed of a hundred times faster than its traditional peers. Hence they are a much more suitable choice for today’s manufacturing industry. The bus system of N Series controller is faster than the traditional type and all IO cards attached to the bus system have push-in terminals. Therefore these IO cards are much more vibration resistant and the productivity of the engineers can be improved since there are no screws.
Built-in Motion Control for Omron Sysmac Platform
Another factor that makes N Series Controller the better choice is the motion control. Traditional PLCs required additional motion control or position control cards in order to control the motion drive such as servo drive or stepper drive. These add-on units are exchanging information between the unit itself and the CPU unit hence the speed is not fast enough due to its required time to exchange information. N Series Controllers provide motion control feature built-in inside CPU therefore no additional motion control card is needed and it eliminates the time required to communicate between the motion control card and CPU.
Moreover traditional PLCs require different programming methods for different ways of controlling the motion device. If the controller is using pulse to control the motion drive, it has to program with pulse output instructions and function blocks. If the controller is using EtherCAT to control the motion drive, it has to use memory operation to program. For N Series Machine Controller, only one programming method is required and it does not matter whether it is pulse or EtherCAT. Motion control function blocks are according to PLCOpen Standard hence it is easy for engineers who has experience using controllers with PLCOpen Standard. The programming interface provides graphical representation of Homing methods therefore new programmers can visualize easily how the homing sequence is going to be looked like without having the actual mechanical parts.
Built-in Ethernet Port for Ethernet/IP and TCP/IP Support
Further benefit of using N Series Controller is that there are at least two RJ45 ports, one labelled as Ethernet and another labelled as EtherCAT. For traditional controllers, additional Ethernet cards are needed and these cards only support one communication protocol, either Ethernet/IP or TCP/IP (Socket Service). Ethernet/IP is commonly used to communicate between controllers to controllers while TCP/IP is commonly used to communicate between a PLC to PC. For N series machine controller, the Ethernet port can support both Ethernet/IP and TCP/IP hence additional units are not required.
SQL Database & OPC UA Compatibility for Industry 4.0
For some special models of N Series Machine Controllers, the Ethernet port also can provide SQL database connectivity feature. Traditional method of communication to SQL database requires a PC and a PC program to gather information from the PLCs and send the data to the database. For N Series Controller with database connectivity features, the controller itself has built in SQL commands function blocks to send the data straight to the database hence a PC and a PC program are no longer required. For latest N Series Machine Controller, NX102, there is a dedicated Ethernet port to allow the controller to setup as OPC UA server which is known as a recommended communication method for Industry 4.0. It provides data to IT Systems such as MES and ERP which can address on connectivity to the shop floor where manufacturing of goods take place and management of goods are carried out . Connectivity to the shop floor is one of the aspects of Singapore SIRI (Smart Industry Readiness Index) Assessment Matrix
Omron Sysmac Studio: Streamlined Programming Platform for Everyone
Omron Sysmac Platform uses only one software which is known as Sysmac Studio for various controllers and devices. It supports four programming languages for the machine controller and they are ladder diagram, function block, structured-text, and in-line structured text. For a traditional PLC controller, if a program is written in a ladder diagram, structured text code cannot be written inside the program and if a program is written in structure text, a ladder diagram cannot be written inside the same program. For some mathematical calculations, structured text programming is easy and straightforward hence the programmer always has to create a function block written in structured text and put the function block inside the program. For Sysmac Studio which supports in-line structured text, the program can be a hybrid program between ladder diagram and structured text. The first rung or line of the program may be written in a ladder diagram but the next rung can be written in structured text.
Also the programming is according to the standard of IEC61131-3 hence it allows programmers to migrate to Omron N series controller easily if they used any PLCs which conforms to the same standard. The programming is based on variable tag programming and it is not address based. Let’s say a start push button is connected to the first point to the first input card so in order to do programming for the push button , the address will be 0.00 (first card is 0 and the first point is 00). It is commonly known as address based programming and it is commonly used in all the traditional PLCs. For Sysmac Platform based controllers, there is no address at all and under a section called IO map, the programmers can assign variables to the input points and output points and these variables will be used in program instead of the addresses.
Furthermore using Sysmac Platform based N Series Machine Controller and its human machine interface HMI has additional feature named as Sysmac Troubleshooter Page. The page is already pre-created by Omron and it can display all the system-defined alarms and errors without additional code. Hence it is a lot easier for programmers and engineers to do monitoring and troubleshooting.
Also Sysmac Studio provides protection of the programmers’ intellectual property. Programmers have a choice not to download the program source from Sysmac Studio to the machine controllers so that no one is able to upload the program from the machine controller since there is no source code.
To be concluded, the future of industrial automation is getting more sophisticated and a normal PLC might not be able to fulfill challenging manufacturing industry requirements today. The Omron Sysmac based platform can close the gap between the challenging environment and skills required to perform the tasks. The advantages of CPU performance, its motion control capability, Ethernet capability and its programming interface Sysmac Studio makes it superior to other controllers. It’s standardized programming libraries and IEC61131-3 style programming make the Omron Sysmac full integrated platform the first choice for programmers and engineers.
Written by Ivan Kyaw, Senior Application Engineer for Industry 4.0 with over 7 years of experience in the automation industry. This Industry 4.0 Article Series is aimed to enlightened readers about everything they need to know about Industry 4.0 and its application about technologies and benefits to companies and consumers.