PAC Vs. PLC: What Is The Difference?

You will find two types of industrial computers that have been specifically designed for the manufacturing environments – Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Programmable Automation Controllers. It is through these computers that sophisticated manufacturing operations are being carried out with clockwork precision.

In principle, PLCs and PACs are quite similar to each other because they are both designated to do carry out the same tasks. In fact, with the progression of technology, the differing lines between the two have only become more indefinite.

All the automated systems inside a manufacturing facility are built with PLC or PAC to control individual machinery. Additionally, with the right PAC or PLC training, they can also be programmed to control a group of machines.


But if the PLCs and PACs are built to do the same thing, then what is it that makes them different?

The most significant difference between PACs and PLCs, including PAC and PLC training, lies in their programming interface that makes them useful in different functionalities. While PACs are more complex, using C or C++ as their underlying software, PLCs are programmed with the help of Ladder Logic.

The difference in their programming language lies at the heart of each computer’s capability and architecture and so in the PAC and PLC training. Let us discuss each individually.


1. PAC

Additionally, PACs incorporate a module design that gives it an open architecture. As a result, multiple systems, devices, and networks can communicate with each other seamlessly. These computers are then used to control and monitor the equipment across various devices and networks. It is made possible by using protocols and networks such as Structured Query Language (SQL) and Ethernet. Since PACs are programmed using C or C++, their program execution is more straightforward.

Thanks to its more accessible programming, it is much easier to attach or remove components from PAC, also making it possible to monitor thousands of input/output (I/O) points.

Put merely, PACs are targeted towards large scale automation structures due to larger memory capacity that provides greater scalability as well as the flexibility to expand the operations to a bigger scale. They are most useful for systems with a high volume of analog input/output. PACs are often used in systems that require direct user interaction and extensive network interface.


2. PLC

PLCs are ideal for small-scale operations and automation tasks. They have a reasonably straightforward program execution, albeit with limited memory and discrete I/O. Modern PLCs are equipped to handle high-speed input/output and are best suited for multi-domain control and monitoring. In other words, PLCs are wire-based systems. Appending any more systems to PLC would require additional wiring.

Many PLCs have in-built networks that allow smooth communication between multiple PLCs and HMIs (Human-Machine Interfaces), supervisory-control and data-acquisition (SCADA) systems, and the distribution of I/O. Since there is little need for PLC training, the system is easily adaptable and most useful for smaller automation projects which do not need to scale rapidly. 


In a Nutshell

Based on their dissimilarities, PACs may be a prudent choice for any automated system. However, that is not the case. If your operations are going to be simple in the near future, then you don’t need to invest in an expensive PAC system to run the necessary machinery that can be powered by simple programming.

PLCs, on the other hand, are a perfect solution for both simple and high-speed machine controls. They are the most cost-effective if you are looking for standard automation. Unless you are running a large-scale automation project with complex architectures, you do not require a PAC. 

Since PLCs and PACs are both useful for controlling machines in an automated process, the final decision will depend on its complexities and future scalability. You must always seek a professional’s guidance in choosing the right system for your operations.

When you work with an automation expert for PAC and PLC training, they help you simplify your manufacturing process that will save you time as well as money.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.