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Introduction to Omron NX and NJ PLCs

A comprehensive introduction to the Omron NX and NJ series of controllers.

 In this article, we’re going to introduce you to the NX and NJ series of Omron Controllers. The NX and NJ controllers are powerful as they combine both PLC and motion control functions into one package.

PLC + Motion control

Before we dive into the specifics of the Omron NX/NJ controllers, let’s discuss a couple of concepts. First of all, you might ask: What’s the difference between a PLC and a Motion Controller?

The difference between a PLC and a motion controller is becoming more blurry by the day.

PLCs were originally designed to replace the huge number of switches and relays that performed the logical control of electrical circuits.

PLC

A Motion Controller typically refers to servo, stepper, or proportional hydraulic valve systems with extremely precise and lightning-fast position/velocity/torque control.

Motion Controller

Over the last two decades, PLCs were built that integrated motion functions, but they still lacked the speed, or the computing power required, in many applications.

Traditional PLCs called upon to perform motion control often work together with add-on motion controllers to perform any required motion control functions.

Traditional PLCs in motion control

New Omron controllers

Alright, now let’s move on to the Omron NX and NJ controllers. Omron has combined the PLC and motion controller into one hybrid device.

Omron motion controllers

The NX/NJ series of controllers can perform traditional PLC control functions via typical digital and analog I/O field devices and at the same time perform precise motion control via powerful processors exhibiting high-speed process execution and data acquisition capability.

NX-NJ series of controllers.

Omron NX controllers

NX1P2 controller

Let’s investigate the NX Series. The base model NX1P2 is a brick style controller that comes complete with a power supply, CPU, and fixed digital I/O. Expansion digital I/O, as well as analog I/O modules, can be added to this unit.

The NX1P2 is suitable for applications with 100 – 200 I/O and can control up to 8 axes.

NX1P2 controller.

NX102 controller

The next model in the NX series is the NX102 which is a very popular mid-range controller. The NX102 Controller integrates inputs, logic, outputs, safety, and robotics.

The NX102 is suitable for larger applications having up to 1000 I/O and can handle up to 12 motion axes.

In addition to traditional Ethernet connectivity, the NX102 is IIoT ready with OPC UA and can easily incorporate database functionality.

NX102 controller

NX701 controller

The NX701 is Omron’s flagship controller performing large-scale, high-speed, high-accuracy control by synchronizing up to 256 axes with the fastest cycle time of 125 µs.

NX701 - controller

The NX701 provides warp speed and accurate control by synchronizing all devices such as vision sensors, servo drives, and field devices.

Omron NJ controller

Next is the NJ Series of motion controllers. Similar to the NX series, the NJ series is a machine controller for logic sequence and motion that includes CPU options for advanced functions such as robotics.

The NJ Series includes the NJ101, NJ301, and NJ501 versions.

NJ501 controller

Like many of the NX series of controllers, the NJ501 is IIoT ready with OPC UA and can easily incorporate database functionality. The NJ501 is capable of controlling up to 64 axes.

NJ501 - controllers

NJ controller and CJ series I/O modules

The NJ controller series has an excellent feature. NJ controllers are capable of accommodating legacy Omron CJ series I/O. Upgrading older Omron controllers using new NJ series controllers is easily accomplished.

Omron CJ series

You can keep your old CJ series I/O modules and add them to the NJ series controller bus. This is a very attractive feature as system upgrade cost is reduced as well as the elimination of potential installation headaches. This feature is easily accomplished as the bus connections are the same.

NJ controller and CJ series IO modules

Typical unit configuration

Here’s a typical Unit configuration with an NJ controller and CJ series I/O modules. The main CPU Rack consists of:

– NJ series CPU Unit

– NJ series Power Supply Unit

– CJ series Basic I/O Units, Special I/O Units, and CPU Bus Units If expansion is needed, and

– An I/O Control Unit in the main CPU rack that connects to an I/O interface unit in the Expansion Rack.

It’s worth noting here that some CJ series units cannot be used with an NJ series CPU unit.

Typical unit configuration of NJ controller and CJ series IO modules

Sysmac Studio

Alright, now that we’ve looked at Omron’s lineup of motion controllers, let’s have a look at the software used to program them.

Sysmac Studio is the Machine Control and Factory Automation used for programming the NX/NJ series of controllers.

Sysmac Studio combines PLC, motion control, and HMI programming in one easy-to-use package. Once purchased, owners receive lifetime free updates as well as free technical support.

Sysmac Studio also has powerful offline simulation capabilities meaning you don’t need the hardware to test a program.

Sysmac Studio

A 3D simulator is included as well.

Sysmac Studio 3D simulator

In addition to the full version, a Sysmac Studio Lite version is available which is capable of programming NX1P2, NX102, and NJ1 controllers with limited functionality.

Sysmac Studio Lite version

You can download a 30-day trial full version of Sysmac Studio by clicking on this link.

North American College or university students can receive six months of free access to Sysmac Studio.

Summary

Ok… let’s summarize what we’ve discussed…

– The Omron NX/NJ series has combined the PLC and motion controller into one hybrid device.

– The NX series base model is the NX1P2 controller and is suitable for applications with 100 – 200 I/O and can control up to 8 axes.

– The NX102 with OPC UA capability is suitable for larger applications having up to 1000 I/O and can handle up to 12 motion axes.

– The NX701 is Omron’s flagship controller performing large-scale, high-speed, high-accuracy control by synchronizing up to 256 axes.

– Similar to the NX series, the NJ series is a machine controller for logic sequence and motion that includes CPU options for advanced functions such as robotics.

– The NJ series of controllers are capable of accommodating legacy Omron CJ series I/O.

– The NJ501 is IIoT ready with OPC UA and can easily incorporate database functionality and is capable of controlling up to 64 axes.

– Sysmac Studio is the Machine Control and Factory Automation used for programming the NX/NJ series of controllers.

Got a friend, client, or colleague who could use some of this information? Please share this article.

Ted Mortenson

Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Oct 19th, 2021

Omron-NJ501-Sysmac-Machine-Controller

Omron Controllers

Posted on Oct 19th, 2021

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