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A process automation or automation system (PAS) is used to automatically control a process

such as chemical, oil refineries, paper and pulp factories. The PAS often uses a network to
interconnect sensors, controllers, operator terminals and actuators. A PAS is often based on open
standards in contrast to a DCS (distributed control system), which is traditionally proprietary. However
in recent times the PAS is considered to be more associated with SCADA systems.

PAS is the lowest level of automation, while MES (manufacturing execution system) is considered to
be directly positioned above a PAS.

Process automation involves using computer technology and software engineering to help power
plants and factories in industries as diverse as paper, mining and cement operate more efficiently and

2. PLC:

 Operates in industrial environment

 PLC is programmed in relay ladder logic
 Has no keyboard, CD drive, monitor, or disk drive
 Has communication ports and terminals for input and output devices


 Capable of executing several programs simultaneously, in any order.

 Some manufacturer have software and interface card available so that a PC can do the work
of a PLC.
 Speedy information processing
 Easy customization
 Straightforward data exchange with other systems

Good things about PLC’s

 Its microprocessor based high end thoroughly developed Product for Industry which can be
programmed through high end programming software uses its different simple to understand
Ladder programming Language.
 PLC can be programmed to control anything from a power station to a small press. It has the
requisite hardware and software to do this.
 PLC developed for Industrial Automation.
 Development Time is less this seems to be cost effective solution in Service Industry.
 Troubleshooting a PLC system is much more technician friendly and very easy to adapt and
change. Interfacing to a PLC is so much easier because it is designed for you basic machine
signals, DC/AC, A2D, and High Speed Input, serial and networking. With a microcontroller,
you may have to design your own signal interfacing.
 PLC is a infinitely expandable input/output logic controller usually programmed with a external
PC program

• They are highly reliable, fast and flexible.

• They can handle severe conditions such as dust, humidity etc.

• They can communicate with other controllers.

• They are easy to program and troubleshoot.

• They include display units.

Good Things about Microcontroller

 In case of Microcontroller the programming is somewhat tedious because of machine

 A microcontroller is also a logic controller but used in dedicated systems which are
programmed once and for all, the program for which will not be accessed by the user, and
whose program will not need to be altered frequently.
 Microcontrollers Developed for Dedicated equipment.
 Development Time is more.
 With a microcontroller, you may have to design your own signal interfacing.
Microcontroller is not a infinitely expandable input/output logic controller.

Definition of PLC

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) defined by NEMA as a digitally operating electronic apparatus
that uses a programmable memory for internal storage of instructions for implementing specific
functions such as LOGIC, SEQUENCING, TIMING, COUNTING and ARITHMETIC through digital

Definition of Microcontroller.

Microcontroller is a microprocessor with internal input and output and memory i.e. RAM, ROM,