The Origin of Automation
Modicon created the first programmable logic controller, or PLC, in 1968 as a way to make machines smarter and to automate processes in buildings, infrastructure, and industry. Modicon is derived from the name Modular Digital Control. Before Modicon, industrial processes used hardwired relay systems with wires running everywhere. When modifications were called for, which in engineering is frequent, engineers and electricians ended up struggling with a rat’s nest of wires and the time and costs ended up being astronomical. PLCs made the automation of industrial processes much easier to accomplish by reducing the cost, effort, and time needed to change a process. PLCs also simplified the communication between devices that were part of a process.
The Emergence of the Programmable Automation Controller
Modicon was acquired by Group Schneider in 1996, which became Schneider Electric in 1999, leading to the spread of automation technology worldwide. Schneider Electric introduced the Modicon Premium Programmable Automation Controller, a high-capacity, high-performance controller for large applications. In 2003, Schneider Electric introduced the first web-embedded webserver capability, vastly improving network communications and reliability. Schneider introduced the Modicon M340 in 2007 which had a native USB port, an SD memory card, ethernet, CanOpen and Modbus ports on the CPU, and a batteryless design. Finally, in 2013, Schneider introduced e-PAC, or Modicon M580, a new generation of controllers at the heart of plant automation, making them more productive, efficient, and sustainable.
The Modbus organization consists of users and suppliers of automation devices and promotes the use of the Modbus communications protocols. Modbus was introduced by Modicon 1979.
The following video is an introduction to the Modicon M580 ePAC and explains why it is a revolution.