Industrial Ardunio - a real alternative to traditional big-name PLCs

Thursday, 20 July 2017  |  Admin

What is Ardunio?

Arduino is a low-cost open-source electronic board system that is capable of controlling just about any DIY hardware project, from robotics to art projects and just about everything in between. With a wide range of processor boards to choose from, a seemingly endless range of expansion boards (known as shields) and the free C/C++ like programming IDE, it has become very popular amongst hobbyists and those wanting to create a microcontroller based prototype without much hardware development.

For the process control engineer Arduino based control system may be an interesting and cost-effective alternative to traditional big-name PLC offerings. Adopting the Arduino does offer some major advantages;

  • Hardware independent - choose from a wide range of vendors - being Ardunio compatible means your code will work with ANY board
  • Capable - you are not restrained to the function blocks your PLC manufacturer has decided to create. You have free run to programme whatever you like
  • Low cost - vastly cheaper than an equivalent PLC
  • Wide range of expansion - you think of it, there will be an expansion module for it - whether motor control, GSM/GPRS, Ethernet, Wireless

Industrial Arduino

There are some issues to overcome however - Arduino controller boards are not very industrial! This is where the range of Industrial Arduino PLC products from Audon Electronics Ltd fill the gap. features include;
  • Wide range of PLC types - choose from 3 different manufacturers
  • Manufacturer independent - your code will run on any make of Arduino PLC
  • Opto-isolation on all IO
  • 24V DC optimised PSU
  • Ethernet or RS485 expansion with Modbus support
  • DIN rail mount
  • Wide operating temperature range

Programming Software

One last hurdle to jump is perhaps the programming software - not all engineers know the C programming language and are not inclined to learn when timescales are tight. Not a problem, there are many alternative programming packages available that offer graphical and ladder logic programming. For example;

Graphical Programming Software

ArduBlock is a graphical programming add-on to the default Arduino IDE. Instead of memorizing cryptic functions, forgetting semicolons, and debugging code, ArduBlock allows you to build your Arduino program by dragging and dropping interlocking blocks.

Embrio is a visual programming environment for the Arduino. While easier to learn and use than traditional coding, it is intended to be a serious development tool for embedded software.

Visuino  A visual programming environment allowing you to program your Arduino - you will easily be able to create and design your programs using drag and drop function blocks

Ladder Logic Software

Soapbox Snap - SoapBox Snap is a free and open source PC-based automation platform.  It includes a ladder logic editor and a “soft” runtime right out of the box

LDmicro - A ladder logic complier for the Arduino

Waltech LadderMaker - another open source ladder logic compiler for the Arduino

Useful Software Tools

MegunoLink is a user interface development tool for your Arduino. It provides data-plotting, monitoring and user interface construction to kickstart your next project

Instrumentino is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Arduino, which allows setting of parameters as well as monitoring of signals in a panel displayed on the computer.

Blynk - is an app for all makers who would love to use their smartphones to control Arduino. All the hard work of establishing Internet connection, building an app and writing hardware code is made by Blynk Team, you can just build on top of it.

Acimut - Scada free and fully functional for free Arduino hardware platform


In conclusion by adopting the Industrial Arduino PLC route, the Process Control Engineer can reduce control system costs, offer a increase in functionality and improve continuity of supply.

For our range of Ardunio PLCs please click here >>

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