Comparison of PLC vs Arduino Electrifying the World of Automation

Do you have a project in mind that requires automating complex processes and don’t know whether to use a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or an Arduino? It can be difficult for anyone, especially someone with little technical knowledge, to decide which option is the most suitable for their project.

Luckily though, this article will provide all the necessary information about both PLCs and Arduinos and give you a clearer understanding of how each can benefit your project. Read on to discover what makes these automation tools so different from one another!

What is the difference between PLC Vs. Arduino?

Feature PLCs Arduinos
Purpose Used in industrial automation settings such as factories, warehouses, or manufacturing plants where precise control of machinery or process is required. Used by hobbyists or in educational environments due to their lower cost and simplicity which allows them to be adapted easily for different tasks.
Programming Use proprietary programming languages such as Ladder Logic or Structured Text. Programmed using either the C/C++ language or its own simplified version of this language.
Cost Typically more expensive than Arduinos due to their complexity and specialized hardware. Require much less expensive components for operation. This makes them more suitable for projects where cost is an issue.
Accuracy/Precision Good choice for precision control in industrial environments. Not as accurate or precise as PLCs, but can still be used for projects where accuracy and precision are not as important.
Suitable for Precision control in industrial environments where cost is not a major issue. Projects where cost is an issue or where users need to quickly prototype ideas, and where accuracy and precision are not as important.

Note: It is important to consider both PLCs and Arduino when looking into automation solutions. Each device has its own advantages and disadvantages, but depending on the needs of the project one may be more suitable than the other. Ultimately, understanding these differences will allow users to choose the right device for their application.

What is a PLC?

PLC, short for Programmable Logic Controller, is a type of digital computer used to control industrial processes and production lines. It is typically used in automated systems such as factories, power plants, and oil refineries. PLCs are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations, and other environmental factors that might otherwise cause damage to a standard computing device.

They consist of hardware components such as logic gates, transistors, and microprocessors, which work together to interpret input signals from sensors in the environment and execute certain programmed instructions based on those readings.

What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform designed for hobbyists, students, and professionals. It’s a hardware and software combination that allows users to build interactive electronic projects quickly and easily.

The Arduino board consists of an Atmel microcontroller with a built-in programming language, which makes it easy to write code to control the board’s functionality. In addition, there are a variety of sensors, actuators, and other components available to help create interesting projects.

Arduino UNO

Arduino-uno-with-white-backgroundArduino UNO is one the most popular models of the Arduino family; it has 14 digital input/output pins and 6 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, and an ICSP header. This model is suitable for larger projects because of its bigger size, more memory, connectivity options, and improved performance compared to other smaller Arduino models like Nano or a LilyPad.

Arduino MEGA

Arduino mega with white background

The Arduino MEGA board is similar to the UNO but provides more memory with 54 digital I/O pins for maximum versatility when creating complex projects. It also contains 4 UARTs for serial communication and 4 hardware timers.

Arduino Nano

arduino nano pin mapped and description

The Arduino Nano board is a small form factor, a cost-effective alternative to the standard UNO, perfect for smaller projects and wearable applications. It has 8 analog inputs and 14 digital I/O pins, as well as 6 PWM outputs.

Arduino Lilypad

The Arduino LilyPad is specifically designed for e-textile projects; it’s powered by an ATmega328V and features 8 sewable pads for connecting components such as LEDs and sensors.

Arduino boards

Arduino boards are placed. Arduino UNO, Arduino Mega 2560, Arduino Nano, Arduino Lilypad

The Arduino board consists of an Atmel microcontroller with a built-in programming language, which makes it easy to write code to control the board’s functionality. In addition, there are a variety of sensors, actuators, and other components available to help create interesting projects.

With Arduino boards, users can use the same program to read a temperature sensor or turn on LED lights – advanced users can even create robots or 3D printers! Additionally, since it is open source, anyone can modify the hardware design or software code associated with the board. This means that students can learn and create with the Arduino platform in a variety of ways.

Finally, there are several other boards within the Arduino family, including the Due, Zero Pro, Yún, and 101 boards which have unique features tailored to the particular needs of creative makers around the world. In conclusion, Arduino is an essential tool for students, hobbyists, and professional makers who need to build sophisticated electronic projects. Its ease of use, low cost, and large community make it an ideal choice for prototyping smart devices.

Arduino Vs. PLC

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) | OMRON, Europe

Arduino and PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) are both popular choices for controlling electrical systems, but the two devices have very different functions.

Arduino is a microcontroller board that is used to control digital circuits and read inputs from various sensors. It is best suited for smaller projects due to its low cost and ease of use. Its small size also makes it ideal for applications where space constraints are an issue. Arduino programming language uses a simplified version of C++ which makes it easy to understand even for novice programmers.

PLCs are much more powerful than Arduino boards, designed to control larger industrial processes with greater accuracy and reliability. Unlike Arduino, PLCs come ready made with all the necessary components and can be programmed using ladder logic or another programming language, making them able to handle more complex tasks.

Which is better to use PLC or Arduino?

When it comes to choosing between Arduino and PLCs, the decision should be based on the needs of your project. If you need a device that is easy to use, inexpensive and has limited functionality, Arduino is probably the better choice. If you are looking for a powerful, reliable solution for large industrial processes, however then PLCs may be worth considering.

Moreover, the choice between using a PLC or an Arduino for a given project depends on several factors such as the complexity, cost, and purpose of the application. PLCs have been used in industrial automation applications for many years and are designed for more complex tasks such as controlling many motors, running intricate sequences, and connecting to various sensors. They offer greater accuracy and reliability than microcontrollers.

On the other hand, Arduinos can be programmed easily with an open-source programming language (such as C/C++), making them ideal for smaller projects that require minimal control logic. They are also much less expensive than PLCs, so they are often preferred when the budget is a consideration. Ultimately, it is important to consider both platforms’ pros and cons before making a decision on which one is better suited for a given project.

Why PLC is used in industry instead of microcontrollers?

PLCs are preferred over microcontrollers in industrial settings because of many reasons. Keep reading below:
• PLCs are more reliable and robust than microcontrollers, making them suitable for industrial applications.
• PLCs have the ability to control multiple devices at once without the need for extra coding or programming.
• Programming a PLC is much easier and faster compared to a microcontroller. This makes it ideal for quickly responding to changing production requirements in industries.
• PLCs provide greater flexibility when it comes to communication between different machines, allowing for easy integration into existing systems.
• They are also more resilient against noise and other environmental conditions such as temperature changes, which is crucial for reliable operation in an industrial setting.
• The use of specialized hardware components such as digital inputs/outputs and analog inputs/outputs in PLCs makes them more efficient than microcontrollers when controlling multiple devices.
• PLCs provide better safety features, allowing for increased protection against electrical hazards.
• They have built-in timers and counters that can be used to monitor the speed and timing of operations, making them ideal for automated production processes.
• The programming language used in a PLC is designed to be user-friendly, allowing for easier maintenance and troubleshooting.
• Last but not least, PLCs are cost-effective compared to microcontrollers as they require less space, power, and wiring. This makes them an attractive option for industrial applications where budget is a concern.

Recommended Reading:

There are so many microcontrollers in the world, and it makes people confused about what should we use and where so here is a definitive guide about why Engineers don’t use Arduino in the Industry.

What projects you can do with PLC and Arduino?

Following are the projects you can do with PLC and Arduino:

1. Automated Home System

With an Arduino and PLC, you can build a comprehensive automated home system that will allow you to control lighting, temperature, security systems, surveillance cameras, and more via a single interface.

2. Line Follower Robot

This project combines the use of both Arduino and PLC to create a robot that is capable of following a predefined line. It can be used in a variety of applications such as industrial automation, navigation and mapping

3. Industrial Automation

Using Arduino and PLC, you can create an efficient industrial automation system for machines and processes requiring greater precision and control than manual operation allows.

4. Controlling Motors

With the help of Arduino and PLC, you can create a system for controlling motors in a variety of applications such as robots, vehicles, manufacturing equipment, etc.

5. Automated Watering System

A combination of Arduino and PLC can be used to set up an automated watering system capable of monitoring soil moisture, controlling water levels, and providing the necessary nutrients to plants.

6. Temperature Control System

You can create a temperature control system using Arduino and PLC that is capable of measuring and controlling the temperature in various environments such as greenhouses, industrial processes, etc.

7. Automated Traffic Light Controller

Using both Arduino and PLC, you can build a controller for traffic lights that will be able to detect incoming cars and adjust the timing of green, yellow and red lights accordingly.

8. Solar Tracking System

This project uses both Arduino and PLC to create an automated tracking system for solar panels, allowing them to rotate so as to capture maximum sunlight throughout the day.

9. Energy Management System

A combination of Arduino and PLC can be used to create a system for monitoring, managing, and conserving energy in various environments such as factories, homes, etc.

10. Automated Irrigation System

This project uses both Arduino and PLC to set up an irrigation system that is capable of sensing soil moisture and providing water accordingly. This system can be used to maintain optimal levels of hydration in gardens and farms.

11. Automated Pet Feeder

This project combines the use of Arduino and PLC to create an automated pet feeder, capable of dispensing food at programmed intervals.

12. Gesture-Controlled Robot

With the help of both Arduino and PLC, you can build a robot that is capable of interpreting human hand gestures and acting accordingly. This type of robot can be useful in a variety of applications ranging from entertainment to healthcare.

13. Wi-Fi Controlled Home Automation System

Using both Arduino and PLC, you can create an automated home system that is capable of being controlled via wifi or a mobile application. This system can be used to control a variety of home appliances and systems.

14. Automated Garbage Monitoring System

This project combines the use of Arduino and PLC to create an automated garbage monitoring system, capable of detecting levels of waste in bins and alerting authorities when levels are too high.

15. Automated Fire Detection System

A combination of Arduino and PLC can be used to create an automated fire detection system that is capable of detecting the presence of smoke or heat. This type of system can be useful in a variety of environments such as homes, factories, and offices.

These are some projects you can do with Arduino and PLC With the combination of both these devices, you can create a variety of automated systems and machines that are capable of performing complex tasks with precision.

The possibilities of Arduino and PLC are truly endless and limited only by your imagination. So if you’re looking for an interesting way to make use of these two devices, why not get creative and see what you can come up with?

Mataf Khan

An electronics enthusiasts from childhood became an electrical engineer, I've been playing with Arduino and other electronics gadgets like raspberry pi since when I was 14. and have a passion of troubleshooting Arduino problems.

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