The WindEDIT Lite app from IDEC Corporation is for iOS and Android devices and provides two-way access to the company’s family of MicroSmart FC6A programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The PLC app offers quicker, simpler, and easier connection as compared to browser-based access.
MicroSmart FC6A is a powerful PLC with up to 520 I/O. It provides the power of a PAC (programmable automation controller) in a low-cost controller with a small form factor, making it a suitable fit for demanding applications in industries such as chemical, solar, marine, packaging, material handling, utility vehicles, and OEM machinery and process skids. Within these industries, a wide variety of applications are a good fit for the MicroSmart PLC—particularly those requiring control of standalone machines, process skids, vehicles, and small-scale systems.
With the WindEDIT Lite app, users can monitor any PLC parameter, and change set points and other values. Data register, input, output, timer, and counter values can be monitored and controlled using the standard Dialog Interface. The PLC app also has a custom Dialog Interface which the user can configure to allow only certain PLC parameters to be monitored and controlled. Trending is supported within the app, with users able to plot multiple register points for graphical views.
The WindEDIT Lite app runs on any iOS or Android mobile device, typically a smartphone or tablet. Once the PLC app is downloaded to the device, it interfaces to the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Ethernet for two-way local or remote access. Bluetooth is a suitable solution for local, limited-range connections where an Ethernet network may not be available, such as within an industrial plant or facility. Wi-Fi has more range and can be used for communications over longer distances.
MicroSmart FC6A Plus
Because the connection is wireless, users never have to worry about having the right cable or the latest programming software to download or upload a MicroSmart FC6A PLC user program, as these tasks can be accomplished with the app. Users can also update the PLC to the latest firmware.
The WindEDIT Lite app provides access to an SD memory card installed in the PLC, so logged information stored in the SD memory card can be easily accessed. The logged data can be viewed, and then attached to a text message or an e-mail, either of which can be sent to recipients.
Logged data can also be pushed to a local or cloud-based database, or to a data storage platform such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, etc. In addition to logged data, other data such as user programs, firmware, recipes, etc., can be sent and retrieved from databases and storage platforms.
To provide the required security, access to the PLC via the WindEDIT Lite app needs to be configured in the PLC for each user, with each app user required to provide his or her correct username and password—otherwise access will be denied. Read/Write protection is configurable for each designated user, allowing restricted access based on the user’s needs; for example, only read and no write privileges.
Use Case 1
- Problem: An OEM machine builder sold its equipment to a customer who needed to make a minor modification to the PLC program to accommodate a change in its production process.
- Solution: The OEM made the PLC program modification and sent it to the customer via e-mail. The customer opened the e-mail on his iPhone and used the WindEDIT Lite app to download the updated program to the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via a Bluetooth connection.
Use Case 2
- Problem: A plant operator needed to send production status to the plant manager at the end of a shift, and to store this data in a historian.
- Solution: The operator used the WindEDIT Lite app installed on his Android tablet to retrieve the logged data from the MicroSmart FC6A PLC via Bluetooth. He then attached this logged data to an e-mail, which he forwarded to the plant manager via Wi-Fi. He also sent the logged data to a cloud-based historian, also via Wi-Fi.
The WindEDIT Lite PLC App is available for free download in the Apple App Store or at Google Play: