Monday, November 16, 2009

Programming & Modbus

Enhanced productivity features make updating programs simpler, and add high accuracy modes and a new Modbus TCP Client/Server functionality

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has just announced the release of its latest VersaMax® Micro Plus controller firmware revision 4.0. The new release expands the controller’s applicability to an even wider range of applications by integrating some exciting new features and enhances the company's PLC family capability.

“With this release GE Fanuc has enabled the VersaMax Micro Plus to improve productivity, substantially expand communications connectivity, add high precision temperature sensing and increase the amount of devices that con be controlled with a low end controller,”
said Bill Black, Controllers Product Manager for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms. “The VersaMax Micro is a surprisingly powerful PLC for its size and price, and the new features add more functionality, keeping it at the forefront of its class of controllers.”

The new OnLine Programming feature enables the user to edit and download logic to the PLC without stopping it. Not requiring a PLC to come off line for changes saves significant downtime and potential expense for lost productivity and scrap. The OnLine programming streamlines debugging during machine commissioning and is ideal for applications that are continuous process.

The VersaMax Micro Plus has been enhanced to support Ethernet Modbus TCP Client and Server protocol. This powerful communication addition enables the Micro to handle a wide range of applications that historically required a more sophisticated control platform. A simple function block enables the Modbus TCP communications commands to be easily integrated into the users logic. Up to eight Modbus TCP channels are supported with one channel configured for Modbus TCP Client and the remaining are used for Modbus TCP servers.

“The Modbus TCP connectivity enables the Micro Plus controllers to address many complex applications that require the integration of variable frequency drives, motor control centers, SCADA and other Ethernet devices. In addition, security settings have also been added to minimize hacking into the controller,” he continued.

The new VersaMax Micro 4.0 firmware release also supports High Accuracy Thermocouple/Millivolt and RTD input Modules. The Thermocouple and RTD expansion units can now support the High Accuracy mode with 16-bit resolution. This provides higher precision in temperature monitoring and strain gauge applications.

Additionally, there are four new 64-point expansion modules that are compatible with the new Micro Plus controller, so the Micro Plus can support up to 320 I/O points. The high-density expansion modules enable the Micro Plus to be very cost effective for low-end applications.

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