April 21, 2023


SmallPC has offered CANbus in most of our units for many years. Now that CANbus cards with 1Mbit/s throughput speeds are widely available, integration into an existing PLC environment is seamless and easy. But what are the use cases and advantages of CANbus?

CANbus is a widely used communication protocol in industrial automation, due to its reliability, speed, and cost-effectiveness. It is a high-speed way to exchange data between devices in a networked environment, enabling real-time monitoring and control of the system, and allowing devices to exchange information with each other.

One of the key advantages of CANbus is its real-time communication capability, making it ideal for a variety of industrial automation applications. For example, in a factory automation system, CANbus can be used to connect various sensors and actuators to a central PLC controller. The sensors can provide real-time data on things like temperature, pressure, or position, while the actuators can be used to control valves, motors, or other equipment. The CANbus network would allow the controller to receive and process this data in real-time, making adjustments and issuing commands as necessary to ensure that the system is running smoothly and efficiently. This is much more efficient than Ethernet which can suffer from collisions, latency lags, and congestion.

A Siemens PLC controller with Canbus

CANbus is also used extensively in automotive manufacturing to connect sensors that measure things like tire pressure, engine temperature, and fluid levels to a central PLC controller. The PLC controller then uses, for example, the CANopen protocol to communicate with other devices on the network, such as robotic arms and conveyor belts, to ensure that the assembly line is running smoothly and efficiently.

CANbus is used likewise in medical equipment, such as MRI and X-ray machines. In these applications, CANbus is used to connect sensors and actuators to a central control system, allowing for real-time monitoring and control of the equipment. This enables healthcare professionals to make adjustments and ensure that the equipment is operating safely and effectively.

If you operate in an industry that uses CANbus for equipment communication and you need a PC system to control it all – while remaining resistant to weather, tough environments, and abuse – check out our SC240ML or SC215ML for best performance in a waterproof package. If you need an all-in-one LCD PC with a touchscreen, check out our lineup of rugged sealed LCD PCs such as the SDC150ML or SDC215ML. For any questions, or specific applications, get in touch with us to see what SmallPC product would be best for you.

SC215ML with a 10-pin sealed Canbus connector