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01 May 2014

At the recent Drives & Controls show, Schneider Electric expanded its portfolio with the addition of three new models to the Modicon family of controllers, part of an innovation package for MachineStruxure, the company's automation offering for machine building

The entry level Modicon M221 is designed for machines automated with hardwired controller architectures. In addition to the standard format, it is also available in an extremely compact book format. The Modicon M221 is one of the fastest controllers on the market in its class, making it suitable for applications with up to mid-level performance requirements.

The controller’s integrated Ethernet interface allows it to fully accommodate the trend toward incorporating even simple applications into modern communication solutions. The basic configuration also includes a USB interface for programming, as well as a serial interface. An integrated pulse/direction interface for connecting servo drives is also standard in this controller.

The standard format has 24 I/O terminals, while the book format has 16. The Modicon TM3 I/O system, which was specially developed for the new controller series, allows flexible and customisable expansion of both formats.

Said to be one of the most powerful and advanced machine controllers in its class available on the market, the Modicon M241 offers new standards in performance and speed. The dual-core processor’s performance allows the controller to work with a consistently short cycle time, even in large-scale communication tasks.

The Modicon M241 is designed for CANopen communication, and in addition to the field bus connection, it boasts a wide assortment of interfaces even in its basic configuration. These include USB, Ethernet, two serial interfaces, and an integrated Web server, for remote access with mobile devices. The I/O terminal block for the Modicon M241 is designed with 5.08 mm spacing, and the terminals can be easily and ergonomically connected by opening a small cover on the housing.

Optimised for Ethernet communication in distributed automation structures, the Modicon M251 offers high-performance in a compact package. With its dual-core processor, the Modicon M251 can control machines with a consistently short cycle time, while simultaneously performing large-scale communication tasks. It is specially designed for tasks in which the controller needs to communicate simultaneously via Ethernet within the machine and at network level. With two Ethernet interfaces and an embedded Ethernet switch, it can communicate in parallel operation through two Ethernet networks and can also act as an Ethernet master in one of them.

As an alternative to the Ethernet master interface, a version is also available with CANopen master for a maximum of 63 slaves with otherwise identical functionality. All versions include a USB interface for programming as well as a Web server for integration into modern communication solutions and remote access.

In common with the M241, the M251 has an I/O expansion bus on the right side of the housing that is 10 times faster than traditional solutions. This bus allows flexible and customised expansion by plugging into the newly developed Modicon TM3 expansion modules. Up to 14 terminals can be added to a controller, with no tool requirements.

With all three models, program and firmware data are saved on SD cards, so they can be ported or switched out without the need for a PC.


Also new from Schnieder is Modicon M580 – the next generation PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) with open Ethernet technology at its core.

The key component of PlantStruxure, the controller was developed in response to Industry 4.0 market trends demanding that automation control systems are open to connect to an ever increasing array of intelligent devices.

In fact, the M580 can connect all field devices, such as variable speed drives, HMI, SCADA, motor starters, electrical distribution and energy management functions, in to one complete and open system.

The device offers significant performance improvements to end-users, as its Native IP routing eliminates communication co-processors, protocol conversions and bottlenecks, resulting in outstanding levels of transparency.

As the backplane of the Modicon M580 ePAC uses standard unmodified Ethernet/IP, it is open and easy for end-users to integrate existing solutions directly into PlantStruxure architectures.