Eurotherm is introducing the Mini8 controller that makes it possible to perform PID control loops outside the PLC. It has four plug-in I/O slots and can cater for a variety of signals such as thermocouple and RTD inputs, and relay, logic and analogue outputs.
Up to eight discrete control loops can be connected to major fieldbuses such as Profibus, Devicenet and Canopen. This is important because it takes responsibility for the loops outside the PLC; in the event of the PLC going down, equipment pressure and temperature can therefore still be maintained and expensive failures avoided. It also offers the Modbus protocol both on RS485 or Ethernet.
Another major benefit for users is the Mini8's very comprehensive software wiring that allows loops to be connected in many different ways. This gives a very high level of in-the-box configurability. Features include setpoint programmer plus maths, logic and timing functions that make it capable of multi-loop PID control and innovative custom controls. OEMs, for example, can construct their own algorithms in a simple unit that is easily cloned.
The www.eurotherm.com also offers an OEM or reseller the ability to protect their intellectual property by using a feature called OEM security. This prevents unauthorised cloning of a configuration without entry of a pass code defined by the original programmer.
Originally developed for use in the semiconductor industry, its compact size and high level of configurability make the Mini8 useful for applications where control cubicle real estate is a particular issue.