In a Nutshell, We Take a Box of Various Brand Hi-Tech Components, and Make Them Talk and Play Nice with the Others!
Sometimes it's a box you already have, more often it's a box of components that we have designed into the project. In either case it's our our job at IES to use all that education and experience to find innovative ways to get those components to communicate with each other, so they can all act in concert to make your machine or process work smoothly and efficiently. In the most rudimentary application this could be accomplished digitally through I/O if no other communication interface is available. But since most modern industrial electronics have one or more communication protocols either built-in or available as options, you might think that it should be easy nowadays. The answer is yes, and no! The problem is that most of these various brands of components have developed some of their own comm interfaces and protocols, thinking that it locks you into using only their brand of equipment. WRONG! More and more these big brands have been forced to include other more standardized protocols like Modbus RTU. EtherNet/IP. Ethernet TCP/IP. Modbus TCP/IP. Profinet and others into their products.
At IES it is our job to know which comm interface is the right one for your application. We like them all for different reasons and each has it's place. For example, we have designed and built many motion control systems that run the entire machine or process with just the motion controller and an HMI, communicating on one of those standardized links. No PLC was required! Think of the cost savings, simplicity of design and fabrication.
Below under each component type are the brands that we have used the most, but the list is not all inclusive: