Microcontrollers are versatile for process control instrumentation, The Instruments need to be small and power efficient, they have to be immune to electrically noisy environments.
When such a instrument is mounted closed to big machines, it has to be resistant to vibration failure due to harmonics. When it is used in ships or chemical industries, they need to be corrosion resistant. This makes Industrial Instruments a challenge to design, as the reliability is next only to Medical and Military instrumentation.
In applications like data loggers, scanners and PID Controllers Microcontrollers are inevitable. The analog and digital counterparts that were built years back were difficult to maintain and very big in size. With a uC a 48*48 1/16 - DIN PID Box is possible, as shown here Newport Autotune PID.
Modular Automation like PLC uses many uCs. There are Multiplexers, Analog and digital modules controlled by uC. Modern Computer based SCADA have wireless interfaces and transmitters using uC based intelligent circuits.
delabs Technologies 06:48 20-Apr-07