Programmable controls are quickly becoming commonplace in many small factory operations. Properly implemented, these devices can provide significant improvements in efficiency, safety, and production output. However, without a working knowledge of how to correctly use and program these devices, a factory may find itself in a myriad of operational and safety issues. Therefore, this article will provide a brief overview of how to properly implement and use programmable controls in a small factory environment to maximize their many benefits.
The first step in properly utilizing programmable controls is to properly select the correct control for the desired application. Programmable controls are available in a variety of types and sizes, each designed with a specific application in mind. Therefore, before purchasing a selection of programmable controls, factory owners should consult with their suppliers to ensure that their selections are suited for the application in mind. To this end, the suppliers should also provide instructions specific to the device's features and setup.
Once the right programmable controls have been selected, the next step is to correctly wire and configure the device. This process varies depending on the type and brand of the device, but in general, the device should be wired and programmed according to the setup instructions provided by the supplier. This can be done by connecting the control to a PLC (programmable logic controller) or a CNC (computer numerical control) system. It is important to connect the device in a way that considers both the intended functionality, as well as voltage and power issues.
With the device connected and programmed properly, the factory is ready to begin utilizing the device. In a small factory, this usually means controlling machines, monitoring safety systems, or both. Depending on the needs of the factory, programmable controls can enable automated speed/pressure/flow control on various machines as well as providing significant safety benefits by providing interlock capabilities that prevent potentially hazardous situations from occurring. Therefore, programmable control implementation can provide significant safety benefits while simultaneously increased efficiency by automating repetitive tasks.
In the end, the proper implementation and use of programmable controls in a small factory setting can provide significant efficiency and safety benefits. However, it is important that factory owners possess a working knowledge of how to select, set up, program, and utilize these versatile devices in order to properly benefit from them. The advice provided in this article is a great starting point, but factory owners should be sure to consult with a qualified supplier or integrator for the best and safest results.