OMRON entered the PLC market in the 1970s, and the company sought to differentiate itself from competitors from the start. In the previous decade, OMRON invested heavily in developing new technological concepts and in 1967, the company introduced the theory of SINIC (Seed-Innovation to need- Impectus Cyclic Evolution).

This theory explains that society, science and technology are connected in such a way that one of these areas is capable to inspire the evolution of the other two areas.

Today there are dozens of manufacturers of Programmable Logic Controllers that are used in the automation industry. One of the leading makers of compact PLCs for machine automation is OMRON.

OMRON offers a flexible line of scalable industrial PLC controllers for use in single machines or as part of larger machine control installations and several models of PLC hardware that provide several processing and I/O options for small to large machine automation systems.

Standard Omron PLC models

OMRON offers several other models of PLC hardware that provide several processing and I/O options for small to large machine automation systems.

  • The CJ2M line of PLC processors and I/O have a modular design and support more than 2500 digital and pulse input and output I/O points wired to I/O cards in local and remote racks. Every CJ2M CPU model supports a large number of steps of programming logic. The 10 separate CJ2M models support from 5000 to 60,000 program steps of programming logic.
  • CP2E For smaller, single-machine installations, the CP2E series of micro-PLCs is a good choice, with up to 60 points of onboard I/O. I/O expansion models can extend their I/O capabilities, including analogue and temperature inputs.
  • The CP1H and CP1L micro-PLCs are designed for compact machines, such as case-packers and stretch wrappers. These CPUs have the capability of high-speed counters and pulse outputs which allow this PLC model to perform multi-axis positioning control. Both models come with onboard and add-on I/O, including digital, analogue, and temperature sensor units.
  • For larger systems, the CS1 CPU has a maximum capacity of over 5000 digital I/O points over seven expansion racks. Any combination of up to 80 I/O modules and communication modules can be mounted in any position in the I/O racks. The CS1 allows the use of the IEC Standard Structured Text and ladder language, which allows flexibility in how programs are written. Other important capabilities of a CS1-based system are its support for position and motion control modules, analogue input and output modules, loop control modules, and interrupt and safety relays.
  • TheCS1D variant provides several dual-redundancy options. CS1 models allow for hot-swapping of CPUs, power supplies, and I/O units to minimize downtime.

Sysmac- OMRONs first PLC

The SINIC theory was the driving concept behind the development of OMRONs first PLCs in the 1970s. At the time, the manufacturing industry was being affected by major changes in society, where the market shifted towards the consumption of more personalized goods.

This change led to production processes having to increase flexibility while keeping high rates of production. OMRON quickly responded and launched the Sysmac PLCs. The Sysmac PLCs came with fast processing speeds and introduced the sequence-performing style.

Sysmac stands for System for Machine Automation Control and has been the trade name for OMRONs Programmable Logic Controllers since their launch in the early seventies. Since then Omron has shipped more than 10 million units worldwide.

Today the Sysmac name stands for a complete machine automation platform. It covers controller, network, software, servo drives, inverters and even vision systems. Two intrinsic images that have characterised OMRON’s controllers throughout this long history are robust design and ease of use. This has inspired an appreciation and consequently loyalty from small to medium-sized machine builders.

Now that Sysmac has moved from a PLC to a total automation platform we are committed to keeping the same values From a performance standpoint, it is believed to be the fastest and most robust machine control platform in the market.

Since then, OMRON has introduced several innovations. Communication, numerical control, back-plane-less hardware and compact size have been a few of their breakthroughs in the world of PLCs. Now that Sysmac has moved from a PLC to a total automation platform they are committed to keeping the same values.

The Sysmac platform today

The guiding values for the new Sysmac automation platform were simple yet challenging, designed specifically for machine control, the “One Connection, One Software” philosophy, Open global standards and OMRON quality. OMRON decided to develop a platform for high-speed and high-accuracy machine control.

To achieve it, they opted for the lightest architecture and the fastest machine network in the market. To ensure scalability and control flexibility it was decided to use an INTEL Atom processor instead of traditional ASICs-based architecture and an industry-proven real-time operating system (RTOS). Both were pre-tested for more than two years before adoption.

Sysmac Studio: the one and complete software

Thanks to Omron’s global development deployment they were able to use the software development centres in the UK and Spain to undertake the bulk of the development of the new Sysmac Studio Software. Due to the difference in language and culture, this project would have been more difficult to achieve in Japan.

Since usability and ease of use are essential in today’s modern world, OMRON developers worked closely with application specialists and Microsoft engineers. Thanks to this team’s closeness OMRON came to understand that machine virtualization is the future and for this, we decided to include 3D motion simulation as a first step into the world of machine virtualization.

Omron PLC’s communication options

The Ethernet interface

Each of these PLC families has specific models that can have one or more Ethernet interfaces with the Ethernet/ IP data link function. Another pillar of the new Sysmac automation platform is the adoption of EtherCAT as Omron’s de-facto machine network. It took almost two years of testing and investigation before the final validation of EtherCAT.

The latter is fast, simple and affordable, we had to work internally to make it robust and fit for the harshest industrial environments. EtherCAT will be embedded into all of OMRON’s wide range of field devices.

Serial communication 

All PLC models support serial RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 communication through the addition of option boards. This allows for additional device types, such as motion controllers to be interfaced directly with the PLC.

CompoBus/S network 

In addition, the CP1E, CP1H and CS1 CUPs support OMRON’s proprietary CompoBus/S/IO subsystem, which allows for high-speed, long-distance remote I/O Connections.

DeviceNet and Profibus-DP

These are supported by the CS1 CPUs so that additional device types, such as weigh scales and motor drives, can be connected to the PLC network.

CX-One software

The CX-One software suite allows users to build, configure, and program Omron PLCs, HMIs, motion-control systems, and networks using only one software package, and additional software packages can be purchased to provide functionality for supervisory machine visualization and control, communication drivers and interfaces to 3rd party HMIs, OPC server capability, and development software for Omron’s LD, HD, and mobile robots.

The CX-One software can be installed on Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Cezanne Gonsior

Omron Electronics (Pty) Ltd
Tel. +27 11 579 2600


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