AB Aleternatives


Thread Starter

Jansen, Joe

I am brand new to this list, so this may be a repeat question, but.....

I am currently working for a food processor, and we are an entirely AB shop. I have started using TCP for operator interfaces, rather than PanelView, based mainly on price, and some features.

My main question is: What alternatives have others used in place of SLC PLC's? I am starting to bring production data onto our network.
I have found the pricing of the SLC 5/05 processor somewhat prohibitive, however. What are viable alternatives for processors that will live on an ethernet drop, but are priced less? I pay roughly $2500 for a 5/05, and would like to get something that costs less.

Does anyone have any experience in this? What are the options?


--Joe Jansen

Michael Klothe

I am =delighted= to recommend the Koyo PLCs as distributed by the Automation Direct company, www.automationdirect.com

I've used them. I've liked them. I'll be using them again.

These PLCs are not as refined a product, nor as fully-featured, as the SLCs, but they cover much of the same territory at about 1/4-th the price.

Michael E. Klothe
Detroit, USA

Michael Griffin

You could network the existing SLC (or other) PLCs together using a cheaper networking option (DH485?), and then use some sort of ethernet bridge to connect this sub-network to ethernet. I haven't done this with AB hardware, but I am trying to find a way to do something similar at the moment with Profibus to ethernet. One or more SST X-Links may be what you want. (http://www.sstech.on.ca/)

If you investigate this further, just keep in mind that just because two different devices use ethernet doesn't mean they will talk to each other. There are a lot of different varieties of ethernet. Read the fine print on the specs and be prepared to prototype the system.

Michael Griffin
London, Ont. Canada
[email protected]

Robert D. Wagner, P.E.

To: Mr. Jansen

Be sure to consider the final cost of your control selections. A few dollars saved initially is quickly forgotten, especially by management, when: your project takes longer to implement, your technicians are unfamiliar with the equipment when troubleshooting is required and
production suffers. How much is downtime worth? There is a lot of good equipment available, but there is also an awful lot of equipment out there
that almost works. This is not to say that you always get what you pay for, but seldom if ever do you get what you don't pay for.

Robert D. Wagner, P.E.

Miller, Chuck (IndSys, GEFanuc, NA)"

To keep this from being too commercial, I will limit my comments to the following:
www.gefanuc.com <http://www.gefanuc.com> or 1 800 GEFANUC for your nearest distributor. Look for VersaMax and /or 90-30 product information.

PS. GE Fanuc owns TCP ................
Chuck Miller
GEF - Critical Control Business Development Manager
15511 Rio Plaza Dr. Houston, TX 77083
(281) 495-0333 Fax: (281) 495-0370

Crystal Majercik

Hello Joe,

Take a look at Delta Tau or Modicon PLCs.

Keep plugging away,

Integrated Industrial Technologies
Hi Joe

I would suggest the SoftPLC Tealware product, sorry I quite literally threw their brochures out yesterday so I do not have the web address.

To explain why I threw it out - I am from Australia and I too was looking for an alternate product to AB's SLC500 because of the lack of a good level of technical support (sales and marketing are great). I evaluated the Tealware product here and was very impressed. An SLC form factor, with PLC 5 instructions, PC104 interface, if required, plus quite a number of other
features. Also there software will port the AB programs over with 98% success. The only negative is a DOS based (read APS) programming package,
although I believe this is going windows soon.

My problem - the product is not well supported in Australia so I felt it might be "out of the frying pan, into the fire". I posed a question to the list earlier regarding Tealware and received a number of positive responses, mainly from the US (surprise). Based on list price comparisons
(at least in Australia) the Tealware product is also cheaper, but then again who settles for list price with AB.

My final AUD5 cents worth (poor exchange rate to USD) is that the AB product is generally good, but whenever a "real" problem arises the support
here falls over. The company I consult to has far more experience than the people that AB Australia call "technical support".

Allan Dow
Embedded Systems & Solutions
Have you looked into adding AB ethernet modules to the racks you already have? sometimes you can do that and still use your existing processors. I
don't know the pricing, and so it may be prohibitive as well, but might be worth a look.


Michael Klothe

Yes -- you will need software to program these mini-PLCs. The software costs $99 - $495 (USD), depending on the particular model of the PLC and the versatility of the software package (the higher priced packages can program multiple models of PLCs).

You will also need a programming cable, $15 to $32 (USD) depending again on the versatility of the cable and the model of the PLC with which it is to be used.

The above software runs on Wintel PCs, under Windows 3.1; 95; 98; NT. It's a bit-mapped graphical programming environment akin to
Rockwell's RSLogix.

To complete the thought, a hand-held programming pendant is also available for these PLCs, approx. $180 (USD).

Regards again,

Michael E. Klothe
Detroit, USA

Houser, Dale

I would also like to keep this non-commercial -- however ...

If you're looking for integrated HMI and PC based control (not Windows based), then look at the following:


This integrated product is targeted directly at the SLC family both in cost and performance.

Christopher Di Biase

As I recall, Joe Jansen was working with the AB SLC 500 platform. Unfortunately there isn't an "Ethernet sidecar" type module for the SLC 500, like there is for a PLC 5 platform. It might be possible for him to use a Ethernet bridge of some sort to add Ethernet connectivity to his current machine without having to replace all his processors. A Control Logix gateway would do the trick if he has all DH+ SLC's now. If he's using all DH-485 SLC's he might be able to get away with one SLC 5/05 since it does have some limited pass though/bridging ability. The second option is only viable if all the SLC's on the DH485 are SLC 5/03's or MicroLogix's. Older SLC 500's might not be able to support the path through a SLC 5/05.

anyway just my 2cents. :)

Christopher Di Biase
[email protected]
A good Ethernet solution can be found in the Modicon Momentum and premium products, they are inexpensive I think you can get and CPU w/ ethernet and I/O bus and Serial port for around $600 list

Mark Massa
There are other platforms of AB's line of products. Consider the word network and the ability of passing information when batch processing. Yes, I was one of Betty's boys when it came to cake. Micrologix 1000, 1200, or 1500 with a 1761-NET-ENI the din rail snap on to bring ethernet to any AB processor with a serial port.

Micro 1200 $600.00 with analog cards
Net ENI module $600.00 ball park list price

use your existing slc500 software
Does time for learning a new platform cost anything?

How much does frustration or better yet, Do you calculate a dollor amount per grey hair?

If one grey hair represented a point loss in stock by me trying a different PLC platform to save money, The Hair on my HEAD represents the DOT.COM Stock Market Crash.
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