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Editorials

Best Practices When Buying PLC Software

by Dipesh Mukerji, VP Marketing & Strategy
IntervalZero

Industrial automation software processes have reduced cost, enhanced control and made it faster to get to the market. To enjoy these and other benefits, you must purchase the best PLC software in the market. By looking at the features of a PLC, you can tell whether it will offer value for money. Here are the features that will guide you when buying PLC software.

Hardware vs. Soft Motion Control: Cost and Performance Compared

Extensive & Advanced Testing
Software for motion control and processes requires a high rate of precision. You need an assurance that the command given will be executed and deliver the results you anticipate. This only happens through thorough and rigorous testing. The tests should be conducted with the latest technology and meet the highest threshold possible. Where possible, you may visit an industry or plant where the software or its peer is in use. This gives you an idea of what to expect once yours is completed. A referral from a partner, associate, peer, etc will point at engineers who can help you produce excellent quality control software.

Integration
Industrial automation processes are very complex. Each process is controlled separately and typically by different programs. The most reliable software is one where you can link the processes despite the use of software by separate engineers. Seamless integration requires the use of exceptional open-source protocols to be implemented within the system. Therefore, when making your specifications to the developer or engineer, highlight the protocols that you are using at the moment. This will help designers of your infrastructure to incorporate the integration elements in their development process.

Customized
Every organization’s industrial production plant or process is unique. The motion control and functions of one organization are uniquely different from those of another. Third-party components and add-ons also differ. You therefore need an engineer who understands your unique needs and situation. This is the only way you will end up with software that suits your specific industrial automation standards. It is imperative to find PLC software that will allow for such customization flexibility.

Value For Money
Does the software add any value to your processes? Does it save you from expensive machinery, workforce, time, etc? What features are included and how do these features affect your processes? Do you have to overhaul the software or hardware after a while? These are measures that will help you establish whether you are getting real value for money. The package should also include regular maintenance and support whenever it is required.

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