SoftPLC Application Examples

SoftPLC has been used in thousands of applications worldwide. More and more companies are discovering the tremendous advantages of SoftPLC over proprietary PLC control, as well as over PC-based control systems that rely on problematic Windows operating systems.

SoftPLC's approach to open architecture control (utilizing a deterministic, realtime operating system running on industrial computer hardware with no moving parts) has enabled it to be installed in harsh conditions for even the most challenging applications including those requiring speed, lots of communications, and/or 100% reliability.

Example Applications where SoftPLC has been Applied
Application Type Example Industries
Machine Control Automotive, Semiconductor, Machine Tool, Wood Products/Sawmills, Medical/Pharmaceutical
Assembly Line Control Automotive, Food/Beverage, Aerospace
Test Stands Automotive Parts, Misc. Parts Production
Material Handling/Conveyors Postal/Mail Services, Automotive, Food/Beverage, Power Plants, Mining
Batch Processing Food/Beverage, Oil & Gas, Paper, Steel, Plastic, Water & Wastewater, Chemical
HVAC Control/Energy Management Factories, Office Buildings, Schools/Hospitals
Security/Lighting Control Prisons, Office Buildings, Schools/Hospitals
Submarines Defense, Deep Sea Pipeline Investigation
Power Generation Hydroelectric Dams, Coal based plants


The table includes a sample of SoftPLC customers. The links relate to descriptions of an example application at this customer.

3M ABB AMP Manufacturing
Alvey Applied Films Artichoke Industries
Boeing Boise Cascade Cerveceria Polar Brewery
Coca-Cola Corning Glass Curt G. Joa
D'Alma Textiles Detroit Diesel Detroit Edison
Disneyworld Ford Motor Forest Products Machinery
Formosa Chemical Friskies (Nestle) GBE Tobacco
General Motors Honda Johnson Controls
Kohler Coating Kraft Foods LaFarge Cement
Lockheed Martin Mennell Milling MTEC/Div of Panasonic
Multiform Technologies Panduit Parker-Hannifin
Peregrine Proceco Raute Wood
Schenck Schultz Steel Sansub United Milk
UPS US Army Corps of Engineers US Post Office
Valesul Aluminum Visteon Weyerhaeuser

Application Descriptions

Detroit Edison - MI

Application: Control of Coal Generation Power Plant Bottom Ash systems
Hardware: SoftPLC Processor with A-B remote I/O.
Motivation: Replaced & enhanced obsolete 1774 PLC system, used existing A-B 1778 I/O, and added some new 1771 I/O.
Key Features: Converted original 1774 PLC program to SoftPLC in less than 1 minute using SoftPLC conversion utility, added 100 new rungs for additional I/O. Whole system up & running (including new HMI application) in under 2 weeks. First system operational since 3/95.

Detroit Diesel - MI

Applications: Engine test stands, stand-alone machines.
Hardware: Initially Pro-Log STD Bus 2 CPU systems - 1 for SoftPLC, 1 for HMI & TOPDOC, communication between CPU's across backplane. Later applications use industrial workstations for TOPDOC/HMI and SoftPLC Processors.
Motivation: Initially converted PLC-2 systems to prove SoftPLC technology, retained existing A-B 1771 I/O.
Key Features: SoftPLC provides significant cost savings when replacing PLC-2 systems, compared to installing PLC-5's.

Applications: Primary control for new Engine Assembly Lines
Hardware: (Line 1) 7 Pro-Log STD Bus 3 CPU systems - 1 for SoftPLC, 1 for custom interface to AFS Nut Runners, 1 for TCP/IP communications to Dec Alpha & Operator Interface Line Controller, TOPDOC through COM when needed. Interbus I/O. (Line 2) 3 SoftPLC Processors, TOPDOC via laptop when needed. Interbus I/O.
Motivation: Selected SoftPLC for cost savings and ease in communications to AFS Nut Runners and Dec Alpha system.
Key Features: Estimated savings using SoftPLC w/ Interbus instead of traditional PLC solution: over $5 Million.

Multiform Technologies - NY

Application: Automatic fill of desiccant forms used in automotive A/C assembly operations. 2 new machines and 1 to replace CCI load cell which was too slow.
Hardware: Pro-Log STD Bus 2 CPU system - 1 for SoftPLC, 1 for TOPDOC. Pro-Log local digital & analog I/O.
Motivation: Selected SoftPLC because of PLC-5 similarity & networking flexibility.
Key Features: 1st system online since 2/94. Absolutely no problems!

Automation & Controls Engingeering Ltd. - MN

Application: Laundry Tunnel processing machines (wash, rinse, dry, fold)
Hardware: SoftPLC Processor, Industrial workstation for HMI/TOPDOC communicating via ethernet. GE Fanuc Series 90TM/30 I/O.
Motivation: Previous design using GE 90/70 had limited communications. SoftPLC provided better network & I/O communications, improved speed and quality, overall was a more cost effective solution.
Key Features: Systems installed at Disneyworld and elsewhere.

Schenck - Germany

Applications: Non-contact Wheel Alignment Machine
Hardware: Industrial workstation for custom data acquisition software & TOPDOC, COMARK Coprocessor for SoftPLC. Phoenix Contact Interbus I/O
Motivation: Original machines used PASCAL, customers wanted ladder logic for maintainability. Integration of proprietary PLC would have been more difficult.
Key Features: Schenck wrote interface to communicate from their HMI software to SoftPLC over the PC backplane using SoftPLC's ONE Programmer's Toolkit. Systems currently installed at a variety of automotive plants all over the world. First system installed 7/95.

Frigo France - France

Application: Automotive Fluid Fill & Brake Test machine
SoftPLC Processor, TOPDOC via COM on laptop when needed. Phoenix Contact Interbus I/O.
Motivation: Replaced Modicon PLC for control plus a computer running a test program written in Basic, with a single SoftPLC doing the control as well as running a custom TLI to do testing
Key Features: First one installed in 2/94 was the first SoftPLC controlling I/O in the world.

Note: Additional "like" machines have been manufactured by A'Gramkow, Denmark utilizing similar technology, with the addition of support for 28 COM ports (using COMGENIE) for bar code reader inputs.

Polar Cerveciana - Venezuela

Application: Beer manufacturer - Machine unpacks, washes, fills, then repacks bottles - 1600/minute
Hardware: SoftPLC Processor. Used existing A-B 1771 I/O.
Motivation: Replaced existing PLC-3 and (2) PLC-5/15's to increase performance and simplify application. A-B announced that PLC-3 was to become obsolete, and PLC-5/15's were also obsolete technology.
Features: Total scan time under 13 msec, even with 16 full racks of A-B I/O.

Sandvik Sorting Systems - KY

Application: High-Speed overnight envelope sorting conveyors
Hardware: Industrial Pentium PC with A-B 1771 or SLC-500 I/O
Motivation: Needed to replace SLC-500/PLC-5 because they were too slow. Replaced (2) PLC's with a single SoftPLC.
Key Features:
CONVEYOR instructions for sorting algorithm makes SoftPLC even faster!

US Army Corps of Engineers - OR
Read more about this application!

Application: Hydroelectric Dam Turbine control for power generation
Hardware: SoftPLC Processor with MTL I/O
Motivation: Selected SoftPLC for custom function ability (TLI's), future upgrade path, choice of hardware & networking
Key Features: Utilizes 100MB Ethernet for comm's to SCADA system. Intensive product testing was done prior to selecting a solution. SoftPLC was the only PC based package that did not fail during the testing!

Applied Films - CO

Application: Film Coating Process
Hardware: SoftPLC Processor with A-B 1771 or SLC-500 I/O
Motivation: Needed multiple COM ports and the ability to communicate via a custom protocol to intelligent devices, but needed a user maintainable standard ladder logic system - not a proprietary system.
Key Features: SoftPLC C Programmer's Toolkit and custom instruction facility (TLI) made it easy for the engineer to implement special protocol, former PLC-5 logic imported directly into SoftPLC.

Schultz Steel - CA

Application: Steel Manufacturing
Hardware: Industrial PC w/ A-B 1771 I/O
Motivation: Needed to add Fourier Transform calculations to existing PLC-5/40 system, A-B had proposed expensive, proprietary coprocessor. SoftPLC + industrial hardware + I/O interface card was less expensive and simpler alternative.
Key Features: PLC-5/40 logic imported directly, then Fourier Transform analysis was done using TLI's created by user with SoftPLC C Programmer's Toolkit.

MTEC (Div. of Panasonic) - IL

Application: Semi-conductor - Manufacture of Celluar Telephones
Hardware:SoftPLC Processor with Interbus I/O
Motivation: Needed to communicate via custom serial protocol to an HP computer on the machine.
Key Features: TLM for custom protocol was created by user with SoftPLC C Programmer's Toolkit.

Proceco - Quebec

Application: Industrial Parts Washing Machine
Hardware: SoftPLC In Tealware
Motivation: Needed to interface serially to sophisticated motion control, along with PLC control.
Key Features: COMGENIE made serial interface very easy. Machine also included a "teach mode" to learn parts which was made easy with SoftPLC's virtually unlimited memory space.

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