Industrial PLC reference design aimed at ‘Industry 4.0’ applications

Industrial PLC reference design aimed at ‘Industry 4.0’ applications

New Products |
By Graham Prophet

As well as incorporating an increased function set for the ‘Industry 4.0’ context, the design demonstrates the much-reduced footprint in both space and power that is possible relative to previous-generation products. The Pocket IO PLC Development Platform can, Maxim says, help transform traditional manufacturing processes with real-time intelligence, adaptive manufacturing, and distributed control, giving designers the ability to achieve the smallest form factor and highest power efficiency for next-generation PLC designs. As well as being called on to deliver always-on operation with real-time data gathering, PLCs require fan-less operation due to harsh industrial environments. As a result, highly efficient power solutions are required to minimize heat dissipation.


Maxim’s Pocket IO PLC supports real-time intelligence to quickly and effectively make decisions, adaptive manufacturing to avoid potential downtime, and distributed control to provide redundancy; features include; The Pocket IO provides the following key advantages to increase productivity:

– Real-time intelligence: Fast data processing provides the necessary data to make intelligent decisions quickly and effectively to optimize yield.

– Adaptive manufacturing: Manufacturing flexibility allows for real-time changes and adjustments to avoid potential downtime.

– Distributed control: Ultra-small footprint of less than 10 cubic inches and smart energy consumption brings PLC down to the manufacturing line, re-distributing intelligent control and providing redundancy.


When compared to the Micro PLC Platform from two years ago, the Pocket IO decreases form factor by an additional 2.5x and reduces power consumption by another 30%. Utilizing fast and safe demagnetization clamps integrated within the MAX14913 octal high-side switch and driver, it achieves 15x space savings by eliminating 16 diodes from its previous solution. In addition, the MAX17681 iso-buck DC-DC converter provides greater than 90% power efficiency when compared to its predecessor—a reduction of power dissipation of over 30%. The MAX31913 octal, digital input translator/serializer can be powered off of any available 5V supply while still accepting input signals up to 36V, eliminating all protection components needed on the 24V supply pin and thus reducing total footprint by 50%.

The Pocket IO offers 30 IOs, including analogue input, analogue output, digital input, digital output, IO-link, and motion control with diagnostic capabilities. For a list of key products within the Pocket IO, visit


In its demonstration format, the design uses an Intel processor. Rather than being a reference design that is duplicated complete in OEM’s products, Maxim intends the Pocket IO to function as a showcase for the capabilities of each of the ICs in the company’s range that can contribute to the advanced PLC configuration. The processor is therefore a mutable element; a company spokesman noted that in actual designs, its customers may turn to an ASIC solution in the processor role, for reasons of power.


The MAXREFDES150# Pocket IO PLC reference design is $499, which includes the attach board, IO-link protocol stack, cables, and power supply. The schematics, layout files, and firmware are free and available for immediate use. A video is here.


Maxim Integrated;


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