Infographic: History of PLCs 1968-2000

1968 – The concept of the PLC was born as the Standard Machine Controller.

1969 – Richard Morely of Bedford Associates launches the Modicon 084 Model, kickstarting the race to refine this new technology.

1970 – Parallel to MODICON was Allen-Bradley, releasing the Bulletin 1774 PLC. This was the first time the tern PLC was used.

1971 – General Electric unveils the first design of their general-purpose programmable controller, Logitrol.

1973 – Bedford Associates upgrades the 084 to the Modicon 184, the first commercial success and the first PLC designed to meet the market’s needs.

1975 – Modicon introduces the Modicon 284, the first controller with a microprocessor and distributed control.

1975 – In the same year, the Modicon 384 is released as the first PLC with digitized process algorithms for continuous control.

1977 – The Modicon brand is sold to Gould Electronics

1977 – Allen-Bradley launches the PLC2- based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor

1979 – Allen-Bradley introduces Data Highway, the first plant-floor network that replaces miles of wiring.

1979 – The Modbus serial communications protocol was published by Modicon for use with its PLCs. This was the first industrial communications network, allowing users to interface its computers to controllers. It became an industry standard.

1980 – Allen-Bradley releases the PLC3-, this time based on an AMD microprocessor instead of Intel

1985 – Rockwell International purchases Allen-Bradley for $1.651 billion, the largest acquisition in Wisconsin history.

1986 – The massively popular PLC5- platform is introduced by Allen-Bradley, used by over 450,000 platforms throughout the world.

1990 – Introduction of the FIP communication network and FactoryMate Plus industrial workstations. These enabled control platforms for alarming, trending, data logging and reporting.

1991 – Allen-Bradley releases the first SLC500, a platform that was smaller and more affordable than the PLC5- with a reduced instruction set.

1994 – Modicon introduces the Quantum range, the first truly open approach to automation control.

1997 – The Modicon brand transfers from Gould Electronics to Schneider Electric, becoming their fourth master brand.

1997 – The rack-based ControlLogix platform is introduced to the market. It was faster than any PLC5 or SLC and had more memory with support for communication cards inside the rack.

2000 – The launch of web-based automation for remote supervision of automated production processes. This integrated PLCs and other components with ethernet and internet protocols.

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