The shift from closed proprietary-based control systems to open PC-based systems is easier than one might think. PC-based softlogic control has recently gained popularity due to its proven performance advantages over Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) based control systems. The initial investment of a PLC-based system is a large component of the long term cost of ownership associated with a PLC-based system. The equipment required to support proprietary systems can lock the user into the PLC architectures for the term of the project. Today's PC-based control applications enhance the “common systems” approach by providing numerous advantages ranging from cost savings to increased machine performance and operator usability. In the PC-based softlogic user-friendly atmosphere, operator performance relates directly to increased production and manufacturing efficiencies.
With the success of PC-based controls, General Motors developed a lean controls group for promoting a control architecture that optimizes the usage of high performance and low cost off-the-shelf personal computer components in place of high cost proprietary systems. The lean controls concept has proven itself in many machining and assembly line applications within General Motors and is now the standard for major projects within its Powertrain division.