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Mitsubishi Electric launches two next generation controller ranges

26 February 2015

In a move said to be unprecedented in the company's history, Mitsubishi Electric has expanded its iQ automation platform with the simultaneous launch of not one but two new ranges of controllers – the MELSEC iQ-R ‘next generation’ programmable automation controllers (PACs) and the MELSEC iQ-F range of compact PLCs.

Each of the new products addresses different segments of the machine control, process control and automation markets, with industry leading performance and functionality. Both ranges benefit from unified interconnectivity with other iQ models, a unified programming environment and an improved user experience.

The MELSEC iQ-R provides a PAC platform that brings substantial added value while reducing total cost of ownership, enabling users to build automation systems that ensure the highest levels of productivity and consistent product quality. It has been developed from the ground up to address user issues focused on increasing productivity and reducing development costs, maintenance effort and operating costs. At the same time, considerably improved processing performance will guarantee increased security, enhanced safety, reliable production processes and reduced downtime.

Designed to meet the needs of ‘Industry 4.0’ automation concepts, the iQ-R incorporates a number of innovative features including embedded database functionality. This enables recipe, batch or other process data to be stored in a user-friendly format and provides essential information, for example, for optimising production or preventative maintenance.

The iQ-F series builds on the legacy of the market leading  FX series of PLCs and will extend over the coming years, offering even more choice in the compact PLC range.

The first model in the iQ-F series is the FX5U, offering high performance in a compact, cost effective package. The FX5U continues the FX tradition of total flexibility by offering a huge range of new and existing add-on options which further enhance the built-in functions of Ethernet, analogue I/O, data logging, position control, security, communications and networking functions incorporated as standard. The FX5U will provide users with the ability to specify more powerful systems but with fewer overall components, saving time and cost.

The FX5U offers functions which to date have only been available on larger PLCs, such as motion control, data logging and sophisticated security features.

Both the iQ-R and iQ-F controllers are programmed using the new GX Works3 software which provides an intuitive, graphical, structured programming environment. GX Works3 offers a wide range of programming options including dynamic labels, parameterisation instead of programming, and the automatic creation of hardware function blocks and visual function blocks, including HMI templates. This drag-and-drop hardware and software configuration reduces overall configuration time by over 60%, whilst the intuitive approach to programming reduces development costs and development errors.