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Introducing the new Arduino PLC Starter Kit: Plug into the future of industrial automation

Arduino TeamApril 3rd, 2024

In a world where industrial automation is rapidly advancing, education often struggles to keep pace. 

This disconnect leaves a big gap in practical, industry-relevant skills among graduates. 

Addressing this critical need, we’re excited to introduce the Arduino PLC Starter Kit. Powered by the robust Arduino Opta mini PLC and backed by the intuitive Arduino PLC IDE, this kit is set to revolutionize programmable logic control education.

Continue reading to find out more about the PLC Starter Kit.

What is the Arduino PLC Starter Kit?

Before we delve into the details of this exciting new offering, let’s explain exactly what a PLC is. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a type of industrial computer that’s used to automate, control and coordinate a wide range of manufacturing processes and machinery. 

The Arduino PLC Starter Kit isn’t just another educational tool; it’s a comprehensive solution designed to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application in industrial automation — a powerful simulation tool specifically created for vocational and university students considering a career in manufacturing.

Here’s what this groundbreaking kit offers:

  • 20 hours of in-depth lessons — Explore the world of programmable logic control with the ‘Explore PLC’ course. The course has been created by educators and covers all the essential contents including the history of programmable logic controllers, Modbus RS-485 communications, and how PLCs integrate with industrial simulated systems. 
  • Arduino Opta WiFi — Built with industrial IoT capabilities, our versatile and easy-to-use micro PLC offers real-time control, monitoring, and predictive maintenance for a variety of applications. Based on the existing  Arduino Opta WiFi, it includes the STM32H747XI dual-core Arm® Cortex®-M7 +M4 MCU, making it exceptionally reliable and robust for your classroom.
  • Digital input and output simulators – The kit’s custom-designed hardware helps bring learning to life by allowing users to replicate real-world situations. The input simulator (DIN Simul8) includes 8 switches and power control, while the output simulator (DIN Celsius) features a resistor array and a temperature sensor.
  • Arduino PLC IDE — Our popular programming tool, Arduino PLC IDE, makes programming simple. Choose from any of the five programming languages defined by the IEC 61131-3 standard (Ladder, Functional Block Diagram, Structured Text, Sequential Function Chart, or Instruction List) to quickly code a range of PLC applications
  • Arduino IDE 2 — Another benefit of the kit is that it can be programmed using our powerful IDE 2. A step up from the classic Arduino IDE, the Arduino IDE 2 offers increased performance, an improved user interface and other new features, such as autocompletion and a built-in debugger.

And let’s not forget that all the kit’s hardware is fully compatible with the Arduino Cloud.

Get industry-ready with real-life simulations

Thanks to their exceptional flexibility, programmable logic controllers are being used more and more frequently in a wide range of industries. From production plants, assembly lines and packaging machines to heating control systems, traffic lights and elevators, PLC applications are vast and varied.

To help students prepare for the demands of these competitive industries and the challenges they face, we believe they need access to high-quality PLC simulation tools. After all, there’s a big difference between reading about programming in a textbook and actually doing it. As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. And that’s where the PLC Starter Kit comes into play.

Boasting industrial IoT capabilities, the kit’s Opta WiFi mini PLC — together with the input and output simulators – allows students to design and implement programs that simulate real-life industrial automation projects.

Take a manufacturing production line, for instance. To prevent overheating and a potential fire, the equipment’s PLC might be programmed to shut down when the input sensor detects a high temperature. With the PLC Starter Kit, students can simulate a similar scenario and gain practical knowledge about how inputs and outputs interface with a PLC.

It’s a great way to promote a deeper understanding of industrial automation and system behavior, while giving students the hands-on experience and critical thinking skills they’ll need to tackle real-world challenges in their professional careers.

Try the Arduino PLC Starter Kit today

With its powerful industrial IoT capabilities, easy programming software and wealth of online content, the PLC Starter Kit is the perfect introduction to automated programming for students and educators. 

Interested in using the PLC Starter Kit in your education setting? Order the PLC Starter Kit here or contact us for more information and custom quotes for your schools and institution and discover how it can transform your learning environment.