Programmable Logic Controller – a computer specialized in controlling a machine tool or process. It has an operating system that runs in real time, to keep up with the controlled processes. It has a range of inputs (from sensors, microswitches, counters, etc.) and outputs (contacts that can drive relays, direct outputs for stepper motors, etc.). Internal software establishes the status of the outputs based on conditions from input signals. It can be programmed by an external computer, or via an integrated HMI.
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