In the Netherlands, ABB is mostly known in the world of process automation for the ABB Ability System 800xA DCS system, and the PLC-SCADA variant, i.e. the ABB Compact HMI 800 in combination with AC800M controllers. Alongside the familiar AC800M controllers, ABB also has another PLC in its portfolio, namely the ABB AC500 PLC. However, this PLC is not yet in common use in the Netherlands. This is undeserved, given its possibilities and pricing.
Development of the ABB AC500 PLC
The ABB AC500 PLC appeared on the market around ten years ago. Since then, the ABB AC500 has been used in many different projects worldwide. The PLC is commonly used in markets such as wind farms, solar energy, waste water, infrastructure, logistics and mechanical engineering. In those ten years, the development of the ABB AC500 PLC has not stood still. New modules have been continuously added to the range, better firmware is available, and improvements have been made to the programming package. The PLC is mainly developed and manufactured in Germany.
CPUs for many applications
The are many variations of the ABB AC500 CPU. For example, the ABB AC500-eCo PLC is available for just a few hundred euros. It can be used to control small processes. The standard AC500 PLC is available in various versions, which vary in memory capacity and processing power. There is also an Extreme Conditions version, namely the ABB AC500-XC. This PLC is capable of withstanding large temperature variations, corrosion, vibrations etc. Finally, there is also the ABB AC500-S. This is the safety PLC in the AC500 PLC range. In addition to the CPUs, there are also IO modules such as DI, DO and AI in various versions.
Modular construction with endless possibilities
The AC500 PLC is completely modular, which means it can be used for many applications. From small to major tasks, with various CPUs and many different IO cards, the ABB AC500 PLC is suitable for use almost anywhere. One particularly useful module is the card with 16 freely-configurable inputs/outputs, where each input can be separately configured as an input or output. The ABB AC500 PLC also stands out thanks to the many communication options. There are modules available for Profinet, Profibus, EtherCAT, Modbus TCP, DeviceNet and more.
The PLC is programmed using ABB Automation Builder. This is an easy-to-use package. CODESYS, well known in the world of automation, is used extensively under the hood. Programming in ABB Automation Builder is carried out in accordance with the IEC 61131-3 standard. This means it is possible to program using Function Block Diagrams, Structured Text, Ladder and Sequential Function Charts (SFCs).
ABB AC800M PLC vs. the ABB AC500 PLC
The ABB AC800M PLC is commonly used in process automation. The major benefit of the ABB AC800M PLC is the ability to use it in an ABB System 800xA environment, as the ABB AC800M PLC is primarily aimed at the DCS market. However, if you do not plan to connect your equipment or process to a larger ABB 800xA platform in the future, then it’s definitely worthwhile considering the ABB AC500 PLC. This is because, for a traditional PLC-SCADA solution, an ABB AC500 PLC is equally capable.
Would you like more information about the ABB AC500 PLC, or do you require support for your existing ABB AC500 PLC? Then please contact IAS Industrial Automation. We have successfully carried out many projects with the ABB AC500 PLC.