Latest PLC and Communication Technology From Phoenix Contact

January 13, 2022 by Shawn Dietrich

Automation supplier Phoenix Contact released several new PLC and communication technologies. What are they and how can they help control engineers?

Phoenix Contact supplies automation and electronic components. Their product line ranges from electronic components, I/O and programmable logic controller (PLC) components, and in-cabinet electrical components. Recently, Phoenix Contact added multiple products to their automation line.


PLCnext Control Redundancy

The PLCnext technology from Phoenix Contact is their open platform PC-based automation controller. The PLCnext technology allows designers to utilize any programming language they prefer, with plugins available for Visual Studio


The redundant controller. Image used courtesy of Phoenix Contact


Most recently, Phoenix Contact has added a redundancy controller. This controller is identical to the main controller and increases controller availability. When using a PLC within an infrastructure plant like a nuclear power plant, you want to make sure you reduce as many points of failure as possible within your control system. 

By adding a redundant controller, we reduce the point of failure for the PLC component within the control system. The redundant controller is set up using the PLCnext engineering environment, and essentially only needs an IP address assigned to it for the system to use it. 


Left-alignable Extension Modules

Every good control system has a way to input and output signals to the real world; the PLCnext system is no different. With the PLCnext controller being a PC-based open platform design, you need to specify a Fieldbus communication module to get those real-world signals into the controller. 


Left-alignable modules. Image used courtesy of Phoenix Contact


To isolate Ethernet networks within the system, you can select the AXC F XT ETH 1TX extension module. The AXC F XT IB module is an Interbus expansion module and is Phenoix Contacts’ serial bus communication system. Interbus masters can communicate between other controllers, PLCs, and distributed I/O. The AXC F XT PB is a Profibus master and can communicate with Siemens PLCs and distributed I/O. 

Adding safety signals to the PLCnext control system can be done with the AXC F XT SPLC 1000 module. This module has a safety-rated controller with a SIL 3 rating and communicates up to 32 ProfiNet devices. The last module in the series, the AXC F XL ML 1000, enables specific PLCnext controllers to be extended with a Coral Edge TPU, which facilitates artificial intelligence (AI) processing applications. 


Field I/O

Phoenix Contact has added the Axioline E generation to their distributed I/O product line. This version of field I/O is IP 65/IP 67 rated for harsh environments and comes equipped with a zinc die-cast housing. 


The distributed field I/O line. Image used courtesy of Phoenix Contact


The Axioline product line includes ProfiNet IO-Link masters as well as digital input and digital output modules. All Axioline modules use M12 screw connectors or M12 push-pull fast-connection technology. 


Ethernet Switches for Harsh Environments

Typically, you will find Ethernet switches within a control cabinet and long runs of Ethernet cables that travel out to field devices. As the number of field devices equipped with Ethernet increases, so does the need for an Ethernet switch that can handle harsh field environments. 


Ethernet switches. Image used courtesy of Phoenix Contact


The FL Switch 1000NT product line has recently added variations with an extended temperature range and approvals for the process industry and maritime applications. The switches have a metal housing and high port density, along with advanced features you would normally find with high-end automation Ethernet switches. 

Which one of these four new products from Phoenix Contact might you add to your control cabinet?