Factory Automation


Factory automation is concerned with automatic control of process machinery. A process controller monitors and measures operational and environmental variables and sends actuation commands out to control devices or alarms. The controllers are usually microcontroller-based machines with architecture optimized to meet the needs of the factory and application.



Applications


Industrial Power

Industrial power ICs span a wide range of DC-DC converters, including those with high input voltages and isolated power outputs.

Many industrial applications use 24V or 48V DC inputs to provide power to distributed applications that are not line powered. Once down converted to 12V or 5V, point-of-load conversion can be applied.

Industrial applications, especially those that maintain communications with remote sensors and actuators, also need isolated power domains to mitigate the effects of transients, EMI, and differing ground potentials.

Industrial Power Switching Regulators
Isolated Power Supply Reference Designs 

Analog I/O

Many industrial signal communication standards employ analog voltage or current levels to communicate information to a controller. Analog signals sent to and received from remote sensors and actuators must be converted to the digital domain to be processed by the digital controller, while satisfying the precision levels required by the application.

Analog Input Functional Solutions
Analog Input Reference Designs 
Analog Output Reference Designs 

Digital I/O

Digital I/O products transmit and receive high-voltage binary signals between a central controller and an industrial sensor or actuator. For most digital sensors and actuators, the digital I/O function must either detect an on/off voltage level from a binary sensor, or maintain an on/off voltage for control of a binary actuator.

There is an emerging market for smart digital I/O applications. Smart digital sensors send and receive packets of information, much like a field bus protocol. However, these sensors are generally point-to-point and communicate between a single sensor and one control point.

IO-Link is an example of this emerging smart digital I/O technology. IO-Link is the first worldwide, standardized (IEC 61131-9) IO technology for communication with sensors and actuators. This powerful point-to-point communication technology is based on the established 3-wire sensor and actuator connection.

Digital I/O Products
IO-Link Products
Digital Input Reference Designs 
Digital Output Reference Designs 

Isolation

In industrial control applications where remote sensors and actuators must be managed, galvanic isolation must be established in the signal path between the remote device and the controller. This ensures that the controller operates reliably and maintains high availability, for analog and digital signal paths.

Today, digital isolation technologies provide much more economical isolation than in the past when signals were isolated using either isolation amplifiers or opto-isolators.

Digital Isolators
Isolated Analog Input Reference Designs 

Security

Security is increasing in importance for many industrial control applications due in large part to a greater use of distributed network-attached sensors and control nodes. Secure control modules can detect counterfeit products and ensure that the correct modules are being used with a controller.

Industrial Security

Fieldbus and Networking

Fieldbuses are relatively high-bandwidth communication protocols designed to communicate between controllers in an industrial environment. Modern fieldbuses use layered protocols similar to, if not exactly the same as, those found in modern IT data networks. There are quite a few fieldbus standards, but industrial Ethernet is an emerging dominant standard.

Fieldbus PLC Solutions Diagram


Featured Products


IO-Link master transceiver

MAX14824

This IO-Link master transceiver is integrated with an auxiliary digital input and two linear regulators and is scalable to 16 channels.

Industrial Power Step-down Power Modules

High-efficiency, high-voltage DC-DC step-down power modules

These power modules combine an efficient Maxim switching regulator, a fully shielded inductor, and numerous other passive components into one low-profile, thermally-efficient system-in-package (SiP). These modules operate over the industrial temperature range.

Industrial Power Himalaya Switching Regulators

Himalaya step-down regulators

These high-voltage (up to 60V), synchronous step-down DC-DC converters with integrated MOSFETs are accurate to within ±1.75% over the -40°C to +125°C temperature range. This family contains regulator ICs that can deliver output currents in the range of 25mA to 5A.

Digital Isolation

MAX14934

Four-Channel, 5kVRMS Digital Isolators

Digital I/O

MAX14900E

Octal, High-Speed, Industrial, High-Side Switch

Digital I/O

MAX31910

Ultra-Low Power Octal, Digital Input Translator/Serializer


Solutions


Our PLC design solution provides interactive block diagrams for each of the five module types commonly found within a PLC, along with design consideration commentary.

Power Module Communications and Fieldbus Module Digital I/O Module CPU Module Analog Input Module Analog Output Module

Related Resources

Title Edition Updated
Process Control Solutions Guide, 2nd ed.
(PDF, 1.99 MB)
22014-04-28


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