A DAQ (Data Acquisition) system is a PC based device that provides fast signal acquisition, data storage capabilities, basic signal conditioning, and limited networking. The majority DAQ systems are PC based, limiting their use in challenging physical remote locations or environments. Most DAQ systems thus find their home in the comfort of a laboratory rather than in field locations.
PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers) offer versatile and flexible signal sensing, multiplexing, and conditioning. Acquired raw data can be collated, aggregated, or otherwise processed with a PACs powerful processors and large amounts of global memory, for instance converting raw data into engineering units, before being sent to a database or other application. Alternately, the data could be locally archived because a PAC is not a PC and is not hindered by a PC’s high cost of ownership, it can be deployed in field applications with confidence.
Various industrial automation vendors now offer PAC or PAC like a product. The product is more PLC-like, while in other hand the offering is more like an industrial PC. PAC integrates capabilities from both of these devices as described earlier, so a device that emphasizes PC capabilities or PLC may or may not fit your application requirements.
Some vendors have been in the field longer than others. Many vendors have currently introduced their new PAC or PAC-like offerings, a select few companies have demonstrated a successful track record of providing PAC functionality since several years before the term itself entered into the mainstream. Opto 22 is one of the companies.
Opto 22 was first was to market with a PAC type hardware device in the form of its computer based mistic controller. Recently Opto 22 SNAP PAC systems build on more than 15 years of experience and thousands of successful mistic and other PAC installation over the world involving applications semiconductor processing, water and waste water treatment, material handling, pipeline monitoring and many more.