Extending XL200 Controls with PLC Integration

Did you know the XL200 series controller can communicate with a PLC? It’s true, AMS Controls has incorporated a feature into the XL200 series controller that will allow Modbus communications with a PLC. While Modbus is not the most sophisticated bus system on the market, it is almost universally supported, thus the reason for choosing this protocol. With the XL200 series controllers, this is also known as the “I” option. Configuring the “I” option, on the XL200 series controller enables the controller to communicate with PLC to share data.

The PLC communication feature is an extremely powerful tool when integrating the XL200 controller with a complete machine. The XL200 controller is capable of sending and receiving information from a PLC including inputs, outputs, part length, order number, material code, product code, bundle, quantity, quantity remaining, part length and pattern number just to name a few. This information can be extremely useful in setting up a stacker, to control a rollformer’s speed automatically, or to control a dump table, etc.. The applications are endless.

As with any new feature, safety can be an issue. How you program the outputs of the PLC if communication is lost is of concern. AMS Controls has been working to make this new powerful feature as safe as possible. In doing so, we have created a document to assist in implementing the feature. Download this document from the link below.


Need help setting up your MOXA MGate unit? Download the MOXA MGate Manager Setup document for step-by-step instructions.


Our Integrated Services department can also provide starting PLC logic for a fee.

Available data sharing and features include:

  • Input and Output Mapping – This features allow you to read and write most of the inputs of the XL200 controller from the PLC. Instead of wasting input and output cards on a PLC by having to hard wire input and outputs to and from the PLC, you can simply map them over the communication and read/write them directly from the PLC. This saves on wiring and allows the XL200 to extend the number of available I/O points from the 24 “on-board” to a virtually unlimited amount using the PLC.
  • External Gag Mapping – In the past, when press contained more gags than the number of available outputs from the XL200 controller, AMS would supply external output relay boards in groups of 16 to get the number of outputs needed. This is no longer required and using the “I” option, integrators can now map those gags through the PLC and use the PLC I/O for these.
  • Y-Axis and Machine Setup Motion Driver – Even though AMS Controls offers Y-Axis and Machine setup motion drivers via analog as well as Sercos directly from the controller, many times this motion is already contained in the PLC or is easier to accomplish with a PLC. For these applications, this motion is handled in the PLC and status and positions are updated via the “I” option to the controller. Control of these axis can be handled in the XL200 controller to eliminate the need for an external HMI in some circumstances. This is an extremely powerful tool and has many options and features.
  • E-Stop and PLC Diagnostics information – This feature allows the PLC to publish error messages on the XL200 controller screen from the PLC. These messages can halt the machine or not halt the machine and are totally user defined.
  • Delay and Scrap Code Publishing – This feature allows the PLC to report certain scrap or delay codes. The PLC may be able to categorize certain machine downtime conditions and transmit this information to the XL200 controller.  The XL200 can use this data to simplify the operator’s data entry when entering a delay or scrap reason.
  • High Level Data Mapping – This feature allows the XL200 to publish high level data to the PLC for use in downstream operations. This data would include:
    • Current programmed item
    • Next  programmed item
    • Current order number
    • Current material code
    • Current product code
    • Order user 1 field
    • Order user 2 field
    • Order user 3 field
    • Order user 4 field
    • Order user 5 field
    • Order user 6 field
    • Order user 7 field
    • Order user 8 field
    • Item user 1 field
    • Item user 2 field
  • Die Accelerator Remote Control – This feature allows the PLC to remotely position the die on a system using a Closed Loop Die Accelerator. This feature is commonly used to position the die for a die changeover to make it easier for the operator to change dies from one product to another.
  • Remote Manual Press Tool Select – The XL200 contains a feature to manually fire any tool programmed in the edit tool data. However the XL200 controller only contains a single manual press fire input. In order to select which tool is fired using this single input, the operator must change a parameter in the controller to select this tool. This feature allows the tool to be selected by a PLC and the integrator can create a manual press fire button for each tool by using this tool selection.
  • Remote Setup Configuration Select – The XL200 controller contains a very useful feature that slows you to save setup parameters into a library to be called up when necessary. In the XL200 controller, the setups can be called up manually using a load feature or they can be automatically loaded based on the product code that is being run. This feature allows the PLC to select which setup configuration is being used. For instance, if you load a new set of tooling on the machine, this tooling can be identified using a sensor to the PLC, and parameters can be automatically loaded using the configuration select.
  • Remote Run Velocity Pot – This feature applies directly to Closed Loop Feed to Stop Systems. The XL200 Controller contains a parameter called “Max Velocity” in which the controller will try to run up to that max speed on each move, depending on the length of the move. A system integrator may want to limit this max velocity to run at a lower speed. This feature can be used to limit this max velocity.
  • Remote Continuous Press Speed – The XL200 Controller supports Closed Loop Servo Systems that run the press in Continuous Mode (they do not top-stop). For these systems to work properly, the XL200 must know how fast the press is running so it can calculate the feeds properly. This feature allows the PLC to send this speed to the controller via the communication protocol  to avoid the need to program this by hand at the controller.
  • Enable Encoder Selection – Many Closed Loop Feed to Stop systems using the XL200 controller will run with 2 encoders. One encoder is fed to the controller from the servo system and a second encoder is used to track material. This setup is often used for slip detection from the feed rolls. Sometimes, there is a need to run in single encoder mode due to machine variations. This feature enables the PLC to select whether the XL200 controller is using a single encoder or dual encoder setup.
  • Material Feed In-Motion – This feature works with Closed Loop Feed to Stop applications. A PLC bit is turned on telling the PLC that material is in motion or is stationary.
  • Multi-Axis Position Function – The XL200 supports the ability to position an axis for any number of reasons. This axis could be analog or Sercos controlled. This feature enables the PLC to control the position of this axis. Positions are sent from the PLC to the XL200 controller, which then positions the axis directly.