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While small format, ultra-economical process controllers have been all the rage in recent years amongst automation manufacturers, their mid-scale counterparts have been quietly gaining upgrades and added feature sets in the background. Marketing efforts today focus largely on sustainability and eco-awareness, admirably suggesting that industry leaders try to do ‘more with less’, but there are still plenty of needs for mid- to large-scale control platforms for powerhouse applications (that themselves show no signs of slowing down, given the massive current growth rate of automation). One of these very capable mid-scale solutions is found in Allen-Bradley’s CompactLogix 5000 series of controllers, of which we’ll cover all the important detail and features with you below.
Allen-Bradley’s CompactLogix PLC product line dates all the way back to the year 2000, and has been a staple platform in AB’s modern controller lineup. Sitting between the ControlLogix and MicroLogix platforms, the CompactLogix line is designed to serve small-to-medium sized machine and system applications, while also offering fair scalability to larger jobs when needed. Built around robust performance, security, “smart” machine adaptability, and mid-tier cost effectiveness, each CompactLogix PLC layers safety, motion, discrete and drive capabilities all into one controller.
The CompactLogix 5000 family is a DIN rail mount, modular, chassis-less system, in which I/O modules are purchased separately and snapped into the controller base as needed for each application. Once the controller’s snap-in module capacity is reached, or for installing I/O in the field away from the controller, expansion module systems are used and connected via EtherNet/IP (or another communication protocol).
It’s worth noting that the CompactLogix platform includes a controller variant known as GuardLogix Controllers, which are models designed specifically for safety control applications. More on this below. For the purposes of this article, the GuardLogix and CompactLogix versions are all considered to live within the same PLC family.
Below is a list of the main PLC models found in the CompactLogix 5000 lineup, as referenced in Allen-Bradley’s “CompactLogix Selection Guide” document, publication #1769-SG001V-EN-P, dated January 2019.
|Bulletin #||Catalog Series Name||Description|
|Bulletin 1769||Armor Compact GuardLogix 5370||On-machine, enclosed, field mount safety control|
|Bulletin 1769||Armor CompactLogix 5370||On-machine, enclosed, field mount process control|
|Bulletin 1769||Compact GuardLogix 5370||Small application, general safety control|
|Bulletin 1769||CompactLogix 5370||Lower-cost, standard process & motion applications|
|Bulletin 5069||CompactLogix 5380||Advanced communication, process-focused PLC|
|Bulletin 5069||Compact GuardLogix 5380||SIL 2 and 3 capable, safety-grade responsive PLC|
|Bulletin 5069||CompactLogix 5480||Integrated on-PLC Windows IoT OS|
We’ll try to help make sense of the numbering scheme above, but Allen-Bradley sure doesn’t make that easy!
In this article, we’re focusing on Bulletin #5069 PLCs, which are the CompactLogix 5380 and 5480 PLC models. Why don’t the other models share this same Bulletin number? The answer lies in a generational difference (and while this is the difference, we’re not sure of the actual reason Allen-Bradley felt the need to change Catalog numbers across generations within the same family). 1st and 2nd generation CompactLogix platforms carried the Bulletin #1768 and #1769. Once Allen-Bradley evolved the line to its 3rd generation, some CompactLogix models changed to Bulletin #5069, which covers both PLC products as well as their separate modular IO systems. Product features introduced in the 3rd generation Bulletin #5069 included uniquely-addressable 1 GB Ethernet ports, faster IO speeds, and higher density IO modules.
For customers purchasing Bulletin #5069 PLCs and support hardware, our best advice is to definitely check all selections and compatibilities (for both new deployments as well as migrations) with your distributor first. Bulletin and Catalog mismatches are prone to occur here, by no fault of the customer. We suggest that you obtain and read your CompactLogix series’ specific User Manual document to confirm compatibility of accessories and components prior to purchase.
From here forward, we’ll discuss Allen-Bradley’s CompactLogix 5380 and 5480 PLC series models, both of which share Bulletin #5069. Further, the Catalog #5380 has both a CompactLogix 5380 and a GuardLogix 5380 version, bringing our discussion to (3) total models:
While these series do share the same bulletin number, they are indeed different in their construction and intended applications. Borrowing from Allen-Bradley’s website (accessed 5/8/22), the below well-written descriptions of each model help us understand these different unique feature sets.
Our CompactLogix™ and Compact GuardLogix® 5380 controllers provide higher performance, increased capacity, improved productivity and enhanced security to help meet the growing demands of smart machines and equipment for manufacturing. All standard and safety controllers use a modern programming environment to allow users to work collaboratively to design and maintain their systems. This common environment optimizes efficiency, reduces time to commission and manages integrated motion over EtherNet/IP™ for high-speed motion applications and up to SIL 3/PLe safety solutions. These controllers are ideal for applications requiring high-performance communications, I/O and motion control for up to 32 axes.
Our Bulletin 5069 CompactLogix™ 5480 controllers are real-time controllers with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise running in parallel to the Logix control engine. Our CompactLogix 5480 uses the same re-architected control engine deployed in the ControlLogix® 5580 and CompactLogix 5380 controllers. This line of Logix controllers supports embedded Windows applications, such as analytics, data gathering, and predictive computations. The ability to collect data and make decisions at the machine level helps to support the Connected Enterprise and benefits both end users and OEMs.
In the next three sections, we’ll look further into each series’ specific features and details.
Beginning our detailed review of the CompactLogix Bulletin #5069 PLCs, we’ll first take a look at the Catalog #5380 models. This series has (19) individual models primarily differentiated by application memory and IO capacity.
The CompactLogix 5380 series covers two feature sets known as ‘Standard’ and ‘Process’. The Standard part numbers all contain various ending letters that signify key details of their configuration, such as “E” for Ethernet communication, “R” for a Ring network scheme (EG, a DLR network), or “M” for Motion control. A few others: “NSE” denotes a No Stored Energy design (that does not have a persistent internal battery), and “K” for conformal coating. These standard models offer the below common features:
The remaining part number suffix to discuss is “P”, which stands for a Process feature set. The models add even more capabilities to the above base offering, specific to process and manufacturing deployments, such as:
Moving next to the GuardLogix variety of the above CompactLogix 5380 controllers, these (36) available models offer all of the same standard features along with added safety control capabilities. In short, the GuardLogix 5380 controllers are offered in two safety tiers: SIL 2 Controllers and SIL 3 Controllers.
SIL stands for “Safety Integrity Level’, which describes the level of risk reduction that engineers assess and determine is needed in a controlled system in order to reasonably protect employees and infrastructure from hazards. Using international standards such as IEC 61511-1, SIL design determinations are carried out using advanced engineering calculations and system design methodologies. Safety control hardware is then selected and placed into a control environment, all working together to achieve the necessary degree of risk reduction.
GuardLogix 5380 models offer the below common features, in addition to the Standard 5380 features listed in the previous section.
Lastly, we arrive at the CompactLogix 5480 models, which are truly a unique and novel offering in the world of industrial controls. These (4) controller models offer the benefits of Logix control and a Windows OS right on the controller. With a commercially-available CPU and a Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system running independent of the Logix control engine, this controller platform offers a high-performance architecture with the ability to run third-party applications in a native Windows environment. These 5480 controllers are ideal for scalable control across mid to large applications requiring high performance and heavy data throughput.
Features of the CompactLogix 5480 series include:
AB’s product and selection guides provide excellent application examples to follow as you determine what part numbers you need to build your system.
Please note: information is subject to change as new firmware and software updates are released. That said, we have a few comments to help in your selection:
We hope that this overview of the CompactLogix Bulletin #5069 controller models has been helpful in understanding your selection options. For more information or to discuss which PLC might be best for your application, please visit our website here, or contact us at email@example.com.
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