Browse Definitions :
Definition

programmable automation controller (PAC)

Programmable automation controller (PAC) is a term that is loosely used to describe any type of automation controller that incorporates higher-level instructions. The systems are used in industrial control systems (ICS) for machinery in a wide range of industries, including those involved in critical infrastructure.

A PAC makes it possible to provide more complex instructions to automated equipment, enabling much the same capabilities as PC-based controls in an all-in-one package like a programmable logic controller (PLC).

PLCs were created in the 1960s as an improvement over relay-based systems. Although more advanced than relay, PLCs still functioned by simple ladder logic that resembled the appearance of wiring diagrams of relay systems. In the beginning, PLCs had limited memory, required proprietary terminals and lacked remote I/O (input/output) capabilities. Additional abilities required adding hardware cards. PC-based programming of PLC was introduced in the 1980s and offered greater abilities, more memory and sequential control.

Early PACs came on the scene at the beginning of the 21st century. PACs offered a combination of the abilities and technologies of distributed control systems (DCS) and remote terminal units (RTU) as well as some of the abilities offered by PC control. PACs offered more connectivity options and broader control while maintaining smaller packaging and durability for environmental stresses and shock. With these new improvements, PACs were widely adopted.

Controllers of both types (PAC and PLC) have advanced since their creation. With the increased capabilities of PLC, the differentiating lines between the two have blurred. Higher-end PLCs with increased capabilities are often marketed as PAC.

This was last updated in November 2017

Continue Reading About programmable automation controller (PAC)

Networking
  • SD-WAN security

    SD-WAN security refers to the practices, protocols and technologies protecting data and resources transmitted across ...

  • net neutrality

    Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal internet for everyone, regardless of content consumed or the device, application ...

  • network scanning

    Network scanning is a procedure for identifying active devices on a network by employing a feature or features in the network ...

Security
CIO
  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to ...

  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, ...

HRSoftware
  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

  • digital HR

    Digital HR is the digital transformation of HR services and processes through the use of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (...

  • employee onboarding and offboarding

    Employee onboarding involves all the steps needed to get a new employee successfully deployed and productive, while offboarding ...

Customer Experience
  • chatbot

    A chatbot is a software or computer program that simulates human conversation or "chatter" through text or voice interactions.

  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

Close