Some low-end PLCs are strictly monolithic, with no ability to accept additional I/O modules. This General Electric Series One PLC (used to monitor a small-scale hydroelectric power generating station) is an example of a purely monolithic design, having no “expansion” slots to accept I/O cards:
A disadvantage of monolithic PLC construction is that damaged I/O cannot be independently replaced. If an I/O channel on one of these PLCs becomes damaged, the entire PLC must be replaced to fix the problem. In a modular system, the damaged I/O card may simply be unplugged from the rack and replaced with a new I/O card. Another disadvantage of monolithic PLCs is the inherently fixed nature of the I/O: the end-user cannot customize the I/O configuration to match the application. For these reasons, monolithic PLCs are usually found on small-scale processes with few I/O channels and limited potential for expansion.