PLC (Programmable Logic Controller)
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Nowadays, control problems are solved using operating components from a wide variety of technologies: electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics and mechanics. Functio-nality, reliability and price of the controlled system are deter-mined by the quality of the solution made. The paper concentrates on practical use of programmable logic controllers (PLC) that is based on the five years project development experience in this area. Successful solutions and problems are under focus. Specific hardware, controller programming problems, data/signals exchange and human machine interfaces are considered. As a result the method for selecting programmable controllers according to specific needs is developed. Practical suggestions, possible hazards and warnings are proposed that could help to avoid mistakes.
Modern machinery consists of both mechanical and electronic parts. Overall functionality is determined by “balance” between these components. Initial planning and solution selection plays critical role in final result. In control methods the selection has to be made between relay-based circuits, special devices, programmable logic controllers (PLC) and new development electronics. This article is concentrated on PLC-s and experience that has collected over 5-year practical work with PLC-s. Strong and weak sides, positive and negative practices are discussed. Suggestions weather to use programmable controllers or not have been formed to help decision making. The most important decision in planning PLC-based system is selecting processor type. Mistakes mean extra costs for modifications or even need for completely new devices. The most common error is overestimating programming possibilities of small-sized processors. There are several methods for selecting PLC. Unfortunately most of them focus on electrical side of PLC-s and maximum count of signals allowed. They don’t involve analysis to determine possible special needs for user program or communications. Based on several existing methods, practical experience and future trends a new method for selecting PLC was developed. Ahti Mikkor has gained his experience by taking part in more than 15 big-scale automation projects. These projects include development of power consumption monitoring system in AS Kunda Nordic Cement factory, renewing testing rig for flowmeters, building Ahtme powerplant turbine safety systems, water treatment plants in towns Rakvere and Põlva, waste water treatment plant in town Jõgeva and development of monitoring system for central heating network in Tartu.
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"PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROLLERS IN PROCESS AUTOMATION"
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