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Schneider Electric unveils Ethernet PAC

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Schneider Electric has just released Modicon M580. It is said to be the world’s first ePAC (Programmable Automation Controller) which is based entirely on Ethernet.

It gives industrial plant teams the ability to design, implement, and run a process that actively employs all the benefits of open networking, such as increased visibility to key process data and events, enhanced transparency and consistency of information, and large capacity for data traffic.

“The heart of the new cutting-edge Modicon M580 is the SPEAr (Structured Processor Enhanced Architecture) microprocessor that embeds inside the controller standard unmodified deterministic Ethernet and applies it to all communications, including all the way to the hardware connection on the backplane,” said Antonio Chauvet, Research & Development Director at Schneider Electric.

He further explained, “The result is an outstanding level of transparency and performance, without any need for manual configuration of each connected device – the SPEAr technology applies Ethernet communications to the field bus, control bus, and internal backplane bus, and, consequently, to all the connected equipment and modules.

"Ethernet is also automatically applied to every device in the network, such as electrical distribution, low-voltage boards, and energy management functions – to form a complete and open system.”

As a result, many types of data are aggregated seamlessly and made available to the operators to help them: • Rapidly diagnose and identify root causes of issues • Access consistent and accurate data for timely decisions • Make informed decisions about energy management • Reduce downtime with detailed insight into alarms and events

Marc Lafont, Marketing Director for Modicon M580 at Schneider Electric, said, “The ultra-powerful 600MHz ARM dual-core processor is the digital engine inside the M580.

"It delivers an extremely high level of computing power and connectivity, enabling us to build safety features right into the controller and enhance its resistance to cyber threats. In addition, with integrated Change Configuration on the fly, plant teams no longer need to stop their process to add a drop or module, change architecture, or even modify the application.”

Upgrading to Modicon M580 is possible without additional investment in wiring, software development, or training.  Based on the proven Modicon X80 range that includes the widely acclaimed on Modicon M340 controllers, M580 extends processing and architecture capbilities.

M580 also allows compliancy with Xbus communications  of Modicon Premium, meaning that depending on the current system needs, users can easily switch between the different controller sizes in the Modicon range without changing their I/O racks and cabling. Developed applications are preserved in the Unity Pro configuration software and remain fully operable with only minimum adjustment.

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