Questions About the EPIC

So I am putting together a project to use the EPIC as my processor. I have a few questions that I am curious to see what the Community has to say about it. I have 3 facilities 2 of them are exclusively Allen Bradley. The facility for this project is loaded with Automation Direct Components so i have an opportunity to change the layout of the control network.Naturally the costs is the main reason I am looking at something else for automation controls, and I am hoping that EPIC will fulfill that gap. So my questions are…

  1. What is it like to use the Codesys vs PAC Control? Which would be easier and have the most support if i am not around?
    2)How many PID loops can this thing handle? My requirements would be 15 Temperature control loops and 6 liquid delivery loops. It would also be on the 16 slot chassis.
  2. What has your experiences been with the reliability of the EPIC? Since it is a computer essentially, can it handle the 24/7 uptime?

Thanks to anyone in advance for your help and feedback

1- I haven’t used Codesys other than at the training, so I can’t speak much to this one. To me, it seemed more complicated to get started, but that may be bias. If you are used to ladder logic (or require it), then codesys may be the way to go, although ladder isn’t the only option in codesys. Codesys also has nice libraries. It would be awesome if there was a way to run both PAC Control and Codesys, but this is not an option at this time. There are more examples and history with PAC Control on the forums and is what most Opto users are familiar with.

2a- Not a problem - I have EB brains running a lot more than that with out issue. Temperature control and pressure control are slow, so you should have not issues with scan time* on these.

2b- Time will tell, but if they are as reliable as other Opto gear, you will not have a problem. 24/7 is the expected operation for these. Just be aware that the EPIC takes a while to startup after a power fail/restart, firmware updates take much longer than other Opto controllers, and the backup and restore process requires a multi-page check list (exaggerating a bit). We are expecting (demanding?) all that to get better with time.

Hmmmm. You must be referring to the AB costs?

*Scan time - Opto controllers are not PLCs, they are more like computers. The time it takes to perform work is not deterministic like it can be on a PLC. For most processes this isn’t an issue, but you should learn the difference.

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Thank you for that detailed response. On the costs, Yes I was referring to AB.
I dont think Automation Direct has components i want to put in production crucial controls, at least not PLC’s.
I will definitely take note of the “scan time”. The PID is more of what I was worried about. I have the Codesys downloaded and the Opto package installed and it looks somewhere familiar. It is a lot to take in though. If PAC control is better documented and easier to lay out i may use it. I guess i will just have to play with both. I am pretty well skilled with the AB Studio 5000 with Function block and ladder diagram programming. I have also done quite a bit of Python scripting lately.

Is it possible to download PAC control and try it for a while or is it something I have to do when i get the EPIC?

My fear is putting the EPIC in the project and halfway through programming running into an issue i cant figure out how to program in PAC control or Codesys.

I plan on putting it on a UPS so hopefully it wont loose power. Unless someone shuts off the power for more than 45 min to an hour.

Yes, you can test out PAC Control - download it:

https://www.opto22.com/support/resources-tools/downloads/pac_control_basic?ext=.

You can then download PAC Sim to run as the controller:

https://www.opto22.com/support/resources-tools/downloads/snappacsim-exe

Unfortunately there is no IO simulator, but you can setup the IO units in PAC Control and manually change the inputs while in debug.

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Hi,
1.- I haven’t tested codesys on OPTO22 devices, for us there is absolutely no need, flowcharts and scripts is extremely flexible, for us ladder logic is practically a stone age thingamajig. We have epic controllers running an average of 25 to 30 pid loops in a 24/7 operation plant, not a single hiccup.
2.- I waited a year to switch plants running OPTO22 snap pac series controllers 10+ years old, never a failure and just switched to make sure we will have 10+ more years with epic and have the goodies groov provides. One of my customers we recently switched to epic in a meat processing plant is opening a new restaurant/market, they demanded to control it with epic!..we are developing and wiring now. I switched other critical plants into EPIC, not a single issue other than the careful checklist and slow restarts, all of our projects are UPS protected so not much of an issue if power fails, updates is something to be careful, make sure to backup not only logic but groov projects too, Epic is like a single machine with many others inside including a pac controller.

I should add that OPTO22 has been extremely solid and reliable control system, I started using back in the 90’s and practically never went back to PLC’s other than small jobs here and there.
Once I had a software issue in the field, I sent the code to factory while on the phone with support and they created a solution in about an hour!! try that with other manufacturers. Not to mention that is made in the US with support in the US.

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This is great information and I really appreciate it. Its helping me build my case to make the switch to Epic.
It would be really nice if I could control all of the AB IO and VFD’s with the Epic. I have been looking for documentation on it but I cant find any.

  1. Either. Whatever you are most comfortable in and can document the best.
  2. 96 PID loops.
  3. Very good. We have units here with some pretty impressive up times.

What and where? I am thinking you want to use Ignition Edge so should be looking on the Inductive site.
They have some truly excellent documentation for that sort of thing.
That said, just ask here and we will all do our best to get you sorted.

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On the opto22 website. It’s all EtherNet/IP with the 1756-ENBT modules. I was hoping to replace the PLC in th AB system with the EPIC but I still want to use the IO and the Ethernet VFD’s. I was hoping to do this directly in PAC control or Codesys.