With the introduction of our new product line (Chameleon+), 2023 (or while supplies last) marks the end of production for legacy Chameleon (EOL Announcement). We will continue to provide technical support on all EOL products. In addition, we will continue to repair the EOL products for as long as replacement parts can be acquired.
Chameleon™ Programmable Automation Controllers
Chameleon is a family of industrial control, communication, user interface, and power modules that integrate seamlessly to form a high-performance Programmable Automation Controller (PAC). Chameleon PACs offer multi-domain functionality-including logic, motion, and process control-on a single very flexible and highly configurable platform. The Chameleon solution completely blurs the line between the discrete-oriented functionality of traditional Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and the process-oriented functionality of Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and loop controllers.
Chameleon’s modular architecture allows the selection of hardware capabilities to strictly match the specific requirements of a particular application without compromising future expansion needs. You can buy only the equipment you need when you need it.
The Chameleon solution is unique in that nearly every module in the product family is equipped with its own processor and dedicated memory space. This means processing power and memory storage capacity grow proportionally with I/O, networking, and user-interface capabilities. Competing modular solutions usually require that you build a device by selecting a single main processing module, a single power module, various optional expansion I/O modules, and a single optional networking module. With this arrangement, the single processing module bears an increasing computational burden as modules are added, since the aggregate device cannot have multiple processing modules working in parallel.
The Chameleon architecture not only provides computational and storage resources that grow with application demands; it is also more robust to component failures by distributing the processing load. If the single processing module in a competing solution fails, the entire device is rendered useless. By contrast, if a Chameleon module fails, only the hardware resources contained within that module become inaccessible. Other modules can continue executing without interruption since they contain their own processing and I/O capabilities. In addition, neighboring Chameleon modules can be configured to execute redundant algorithms, so if one module fails another can take over its control functions. Modules support both redundant input and redundant output connections. In addition, Chameleon PACs can be equipped with multiple power modules to offer redundancy in power sources-both to the PAC and to the external devices that it powers. In competing modular systems, the power module often represents a single-point of failure because it can’t operate in parallel with other backup power modules.
Chameleon modules integrate seamlessly with one another by sharing information over a common high-speed data bus. This internal data network makes any module’s hardware resources (e.g., inputs, outputs, displays, buttons, etc.) available to all other adjoined modules. In fact, any signal or variable computed in one module’s processor is easily accessible by other module’s processors. All signal synchronization between processors is handled in firmware and is completely transparent to the user. The multi-processor architecture facilitates parallel task execution without complicating the programming effort. In fact, it often simplifies programming and configuration by naturally grouping I/O and user-interface resources with computational resources.
These modules are available in both grey (plastic enclosure infused with metal fibers and EMI sealing glands, providing EMI protection) and black (more cost effective, used in applications where PLC module is already located in a metal panel).
This new generation of products called Chameleon+ was designed to replace obsolete Chameleon components and to incorporate new product features. We encourage all customers to begin planning a migration of existing and future installations to the next-generation Chameleon+. These new modules will be backward compatible and feature:
- Significantly faster microprocessors and increased memory
- Cyber security enhancements including secure boot with firmware and configuration validation, intrusion detection, role-based authentication control (RBAC), hardware validation, encrypted files/communication, trust groups, and historical logging with evidence of critical events
- USB ports that may be used for configuration and/or computer-less programming
- Module expansion port for installation of optional features such as two-port Ethernet in any module
- Analog I/O Modules
- Discrete I/O Modules
- Network Modules
- User Configurable Modules
- Power Supply Modules