System Redundancy Expands Programmable Automation Controller Platform Capabilities
Mitsubishi Electric has expanded its Q series programmable automation controller platform with a new high-availability, redundant controller for system critical applications. The new QnPRH is the successor to the highly successful Q4AR system, which over
Mitsubishi Electric has expanded its Q series programmable automation controller platform with a new high-availability, redundant controller for system critical applications.
The new QnPRH is the successor to the highly successful Q4AR system, which over the last eight years has established Mitsubishi as a major player in the large scale process control market. Designed to offer a new level of redundancy for system-critical applications QnPRH is based on dual CPUs, power supplies and bases. It combines ‘out of the box’ system building using standard components with customisation by simple parameter setting. The QnPRH has a level of simplicity normally expected of smaller PLCs.
It is configured for total data tracking and extensive physical redundancy so that ultra high system availability can be guaranteed. This is complemented by the ease of use provided by a powerful engineering environment that Mitsubishi has created around the QnPRH.
Jeremy Shinton, Mitsubishi’s Q Series Product Manager, explains how the new range is pushing the control technology envelopes:
“QnPRH is designed to be easy to install. It’s intuitive programming tools and operation allow simple and cost effective design and development of a redundant system project. This is further enhanced by the fact that QnPRH is physically 25 per cent of the size of it’s Q4AR predecessor, reducing space requirements significantly. For integration with existing systems QnPRH is fully compatible with other Qn series hardware platforms.”
In use Shinton says that QnPRH is designed for easy maintenance and simple system reconfiguration. “The components are “hot swappable”, so can be unplugged and replaced without having to shut down the entire system and thus removes major disruption to system availability. There are facilities for troubleshooting, historical data logging, trend analysis functions, alarms and monitors and a full range of interfaces for communications with other systems and various protocols.”
The flexibility inherent in the new QnPRH is such that it can be used in virtually all high-integrity environments, from the conventional continuous industrial processes, to utilities and power generation.
“It also has advantages for use in diverse areas such as banking and finance, logistics and transport, security and facilities management, and medical applications. While these are new fields for many process control engineers, Mitsubishi has experience in all of them somewhere in the world. An organisation could use QnPRH for a whole range of industrial and non-industrial system critical applications and achieve a level of rationalisation previously thought impossible.”
QnPRH is flexible and scaleable, for example it can be used to control a single workstation, machine, manufacturing cell or complete process line;
This flexibility means that cost effective solutions are possible what ever level of system redundancy is required.
Communications networking is a critical capability of large scale controllers, and the QnPRH can be configured to adopt all formats, including peer-to-peer and remote I/O formats. It can use dual loop fibre ring networks to ensure high system integrity at all times, so that control of I/O is maintained even if hardware errors occur. The configuration of the QnPRH ensures a high integrity, robust topology for distributed network control, coupled with supervisory level access.
And despite all this redundancy, flexibility for system expansion, development and reconfiguration is easier than for any other hardware platform. This is complemented by backwards compatibility with the Q4AR range – . Significantly, the main base and standby base are discreet units which can be installed in various configurations to enhance the compactness and flexibility of the overall system.
An extensive library of function blocks is available with the Q series, allowing bespoke systems to be built on a simple plug and play basis.
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