Interfaces have the task of connecting IT systems with the environment, i.e. other facilities, disciplines or subsystems. In the field ofprogrammable logic controllers (PLCs), the connection between the PLC and the environment is often established by communication processors (interface controllers). These blocks mediate between the PLC and its peripheral components (sensors, actuators, devices).

Innovative control approaches in warehouse management, in which a material flow computer (MFC) handles a large number of different sensors and actuators simultaneously and in a fraction of a second, pose new tasks for modern bus systems and their interfaces.

Tasks in interfaces within the warehouse management

  • Buffering of input and output data
    (e.g. cyclic program flow in PLC).
  • Data conversion

At the interface to the periphery, the most diverse transmission types (e.g. serial, parallel) and data formats (e.g. Data transfer between CPU and communication processor (=interface controller) of a PLC) are handled.

  • Generation of control and handshake signatures

Control and handshake signals are required to synchronize peripheral components and the warehouse management computer (e.g. to ensure that an invoice is not printed twice when printing invoices online)

For more information on planning a warehouse, see The Basics of Warehouse Planning – Mapping the Target.

For more information on communication via local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN) or mobile radio, seeCommunication in the information system.

Image source: © Thomas Jansa –

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