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A powerful programmable logic controller (PLC) is the super-fast “nervous system” of an automated storage system – the vital link between software and intralogistics system. The PLC transmits the machine states to the materials flow software and the warehouse management software in a fast and secure manner and ensures that instructions coming from the software are directly converted into the necessary operations of the storage and retrieval machines and the conveyor technology.

Westfalia Terra Automation, our control systems business in Bremen, Germany, has its own in-house expertise for building and programming PLC systems. This means we can guarantee that all our intralogistics come from a single source, are “Made in Germany” and are immune to bottlenecks in global services and supply. This is not only safer for your company – it is also more cost-effective.

Our PLC: Hardware, software, and expertise in top form

No two warehouse systems are the same. We focus all our know-how on your specific system. Our high-quality assemblies are consistently equipped with state-of-the-art, fast, and powerful CPUs. Also, we believe in employing our own experts to get things done. Our experts develop, produce, program, and install control systems that are tailor-made for each specific warehouse layout.

Our team installs and programs interfaces for seamless processes, using our high-performance warehouse execution system Savanna.NET®, or alternatively, the third-party software that you use for materials flow control and warehouse management.

Our IT experts and service technicians put new systems into operation and modernize existing systems, whether these be from us or from third parties – naturally with a minimum of system downtime and with extensive testing. Thus, we can ensure the greatest possible availability of your partially or fully automated warehouse system.

What is a PLC?

A programmable logic controller or PLC is a digital electronic device with a programmable memory – like a PC that specializes in control tasks. The system uses sensors and actuators to control plants in industrial applications.

Hardwired was yesterday

As digitalization moves towards Industry 4.0, PLCs are replacing hard-wired control systems. PLCs have a decisive advantage: Control is performed via software and via a customized program. PLCs are precisely tailored to fit processes, can be flexibly adapted to new tasks, and can also be extended by adding further modules. And they have even more advantages over hard-wired systems:

PLCs are suitable for complex tasks and are more compact and reliable. They can be networked with other IT systems. They are often less expensive and more cost-effective in the long run. This is especially true since production and storage strategies can change constantly. Changing the function of the PLC is less complex than with a VPS. Remote maintenance and online access are possible, saving additional service costs. Savings are also likely to come from faster troubleshooting and lower power consumption.

The hub of complex intralogistics processes

PLCs are ideally suited to automated intralogistics. Sophisticated automated warehouse and logistics systems provide numerous storage and retrieval strategies depending on the situation and the machine states. If any individual storage and retrieval machines, vertical conveyors, transverse transport vehicles, or continuous conveyors require maintenance work, the warehouse execution system provides extensive special strategies for storage and retrieval. This means that an automated high-bay warehouse can continue working efficiently even if individual parts break down or require maintenance.

A powerful PLC system is able to handle the complex and closely interlinked intralogistics processes required by the software and convert them into the appropriate output signals for the warehouse technology. At the same time, the PLC supplies the real-time data required for visualizing and controlling live operations, or for a digital twin, in order to optimize processes, perform remote maintenance, and prepare for modernization.

Do you have any questions regarding PLC programming and PLC system construction? If so, we look forward to hearing from you – contact us at any time for free, non-binding advice.