New Tools for Industrial Automation

Feb. 22, 2007
Opto 22, Temecula, CA., has launched a new thrust aimed at making automation products easier to understand and cheaper to buy.
PAC Project Software
Ethernet Brains
Analog Modules
SNAP PAC Motion Control Subsystem

Opto 22, Temecula, CA., has launched a new thrust aimed at making automation products easier to understand and cheaper to buy. The SNAP PAC System launch includes new automation hardware and software, developed with ease-of-use in mind. The new products include the PAC Project Software Suite, two new SNAP PAC brains, five new SNAP I/O modules, four new SNAP PAC racks, the OptoDataLink, SNAP PAC simulators, and the SNAP motion control subsystem. Opto 22 says it's goal with the launch is to simplify automation so engineers can concentrate on innovation and problem-solving rather than on the nuts and bolts of data acquisition and monitoring.

The first product in the line is PAC Project, a new automation software suite that includes all control programming, human machine interface (HMI) development, and connectivity tools needed to develop and maintain industrial control, monitoring, and data acquisition. It is available in two versions, basic and professional. Control programming development comes from PAC Control, a flowchart-based programming and debugging tool with comprehensive and plain-English commands as well as a scripting language. For HMI development, the software includes PAC Display and HMI configuration and a runtime application used to design and run operator interfaces on Microsoft Windows-based clients. Professional PAC Project includes OptoOPCServer for joining and publishing Snap PAC System data to OPC-aware clients. PAC Project also has PAC Manager, a configuration and maintenance tool for inspecting and viewing I/O data associated with control strategies in real-time. PAC Project Basic can be downloaded for free at the website listed below.

Next comes the SNAP-PAC-EB1 and SNAP-PAC-EB2 I/O brains which are high-performance, networked I/O processors for designing Ethernet-based remotes. Both the SNAP-PAC-EB1 and SNAP-PAC-EB2 feature dual, switched 10/100 Mbps Ethernet interfaces. These new brains have built-in switches and can be configured with the multi-drop network thus reducing the need for external Ethernet switches. The SNAP-PAC-EB1 has hardware-driven, high-speed digital functions for counting, quadrature input, pulsing, and latching while the SNAP-PAC-EB2 provides counting and latching in the brains software. SNAP PAC brains include powerful processors that offload time-critical tasks from the host controller or PC. Functions such as counting, latching, thermocouple linearization, PID loop control, event messaging, scaling, engineering unit conversion, ramping, time-proportional outputs, and more are handled in the SNAP PAC brain. They also can address a mix of up to 512 points of analog, digital, serial, and special-purpose I/O on a single rack.

Opto 22 has also added five higher-density I/O modules for the SNAP PAC System. The 16-and-32-channels modules connect to and communicate with sensors, actuators, instrumentation, and equipment in industrial applications involving digital on/off control or monitoring and acquisition of temperature, humidity, pressure, and flow. The SNAP-AIMA-32 has 32 channels of − 20 to 20 mA analog current input. It is optically isolated from equipment it connects to and offers ±25,000 counts of resolution and accuracy of 0.05% (10 mA). The SNAP-IAC-16 and SNAP-IAC-A-16 digital input modules offer 16-points of input with channel-to-channel isolation. They can be used to sense on/off status for 90-140 Vac or 180-280 Vac.

New SNAP PAC racks are used with rack-mounted SNAP PAC R-series programmable automation controllers and the SNAP PAC brains. The racks come in four sizes and accommodate 4, 8, 12, or 16 SNAP I/O modules for up to 512 I/O points on single racks. They let users mix any combination of analog, digital, serial, and special-purpose modules in any position on any rack. This flexibility, along with standardized mounting rack frames, reduce the number of choices from fifteen to four.

The new software that goes along with the brains, modules, and racks is called OptoDataLink. This software is part of PAC Project and integrated into the SNAP PAC system, so control tags are automatically created when the control strategy is developed. Because OptoDataLink is its own application, it eliminates the need for an HMI application. The software uses a four-step, form-based interface so users don't need experience with setting up technologies like ODBC or ADO.NET. Once the configuration is complete, the software runs in the background and communicates directly with databases and the SNAP PAC system.

Along with the OptoDataLink, the SNAP PAC Sim software provides the functionality of automation controllers in Microsoft Windows-based PCs, without external hardware. Combined with PAC Project, SNAP PAC Sim gives users the control programming, human-machine interface development, and debugging tools needed to design and build industrial control, monitoring, and data acquisition applications for the SNAP PAC system. It lets users run control profiles created in environments that simulate actual SNAP PAC system automation controllers.

SNAP motion control subsystem is a development platform for applications requiring motion control with analog, digital, and serial control. It helps complete the multi-domain functionality of the SNAP PAC system by combining motion control with process control, sequential logic, string and data handling, math, and networking in a single PAC system. According to the manufacturer, users can use a single development environment to address all of their industrial control, motion, data acquisition, and monitoring tasks. Each SNAP-SCM-MCH-16 motion module can communicate with up to 16 axes of stepper motion, accomplished with the use of up to four SNAP-SCM-BB4 breakthrough boards (intelligent Magellan-based motion processors).

More Information:
Opto 22

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