Offers speeds up to 4.5 times faster, eight times more memory, more connectivity, faster programming, more expansion options - and all at no extra cost
The anticipated successor to one of the world's most successful PLCs significantly exceeds expectations, with a list of advanced performance criteria that justify the description of the Mitsubishi FX3U as the first in a new generation of PLCs, says the company.
Built on a solid foundation that has seen more than six million units of its predecessor installed, easily the world's most successful micro-controller, the new FX3U offers speeds up to 4.5 times faster, eight times more memory, more connectivity, faster programming, more expansion options - and all at no extra cost.
"The FX3U gives unrivalled flexibility for designers and process engineers," says Hugh Tasker at Mitsubishi.
"It is a platform that encompasses a vast range of applications, both OEM and end user, for automation, positioning, process control and networking.
"With a list of standard features that betters anything on the market, users are really only limited by their imaginations".
The FX3U's speed is described as breathtaking.
At 65nS, it is 4.5 times faster than the previous generation of PLCs, and this means considerably faster scan times and faster responses, bringing greater than ever precision control for a vast array of time critical applications.
What's more, 75 new instructions have been added to the instruction set, simplifying programming.
The increased 64K memory represents an increase of 400% over the previous FX models, making the new FX3U capable of handling even more sophisticated and more powerful applications.
With this much memory, concern over memory capacity is a thing of the past says Mitsubishi and it allows users to exploit IEC61131-1 programming methods to the full.
Anticipating future market needs of complete openness in communications, as well as easily accommodating today's technical requirements, designers of the FX3U have incorporated even more communication options: multiple serial interfaces; an optional USB interface (possibly the only micro PLC on the market to offer this); full 10/100Mbit ethernet connectivity of course; and Profibus, DeviceNet, CCLink, ASI as well as the built-in Mitsubishi inverter protocol.
FX3U is described as the ideal choice for applications requiring high-speed positioning, with six 100Hz counters built-in as standard, simple three-axis positioning capabilities and new high-speed input/output modules.
Over 40,000 data registers are accommodated (some five times that of many of its competitors), which simplify the process of data logging and energy monitoring, for example and new instructions have been incorporated for easy data manipulation.
In fact, set-up and commissioning has never been so fast and straightforward, with USB and ethernet connectivity facilitating faster downloading, new direct addressing for ADP modules giving time-saving during development and programming and the use of IEC 61131-1 software promotes efficient, structured programming in a choice of five different languages.
And to make things even easier, virtual PLC training takes beginners through the programming step by step.
"Our objective has been to provide a route to a solution at a reduced cost," says Tasker.
"Not only have we frozen the unit costs and made programming easier, but the FX3U is backwards compatible with existing legacy systems - despite the huge leap forward, it is still an evolution of a product.
"FX2N software is easily transported/converted to FX3U and expansion modules are compatible too.
"Flexibility is greater than ever before, with even more expansion modules now available.
"A new faster and simpler ADP interface is provided on the CPU, up to 80 analogue inputs and 48 analogue outputs are possible, fast high-resolution (16 bit) analogues will be available shortly, 14 different analogues I/O and temperature blocks are available and up to 384 inputs/outputs are allowed between local and networked I/O.
"Products will be compatible with both RoHs and WEEE.
"The FX2N broke all records," concludes Tasker.
"We confidently expect to exceed this with the FX3U".