You are on page 1of 8

PLC BASED INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION

PLC BASED INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION


INTRODUCTION:
Automation is the word used in modern industries to express enhancement of operational efficiency.
industrial automation or numerical control is the use of control systems such as computers to control
industrial machinery and processes, replacing human operators. In the scope of industrialization, it is a step
beyond mechanization. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them
with the physical requirements of work, automation greatly reduces the need for human sensory and mental
requirements as well.
UTILITY OF AUTOMATION:
he utility of automation in an industry can briefly be enumerated as follows!
"ptimizes the use of process control equipment.
#ecreases the response for process and equipment contingencies.
$rovides information about process status.
%anages process logic at the plant floor level.
Increases overall productivity and plant efficiency.
&ost and timesavings due to integrated safety technology.
%anufacturing equipment can be flexibly adopted.
'igh speed fault diagnostics and trouble shooting.
PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROLLER:
A $(& is as important to the world of industrial automation as the computer is to the business
world. A $rogrammable (ogic &ontroller )$(&*, or programmable controller is a digital computer used for
automation of industrial processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines. +nlike general,
purpose computers, the $(& is designed for multiple inputs and output arrangements, extended temperature
ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. $rograms to control machine
operation are typically stored in battery,backed or non,volatile memory. A $(& is an example of a real
time system since output results must be produced in response to input conditions within a bounded time,
otherwise unintended operation will result.
CHARACTERISTIC FUNCTIONS OF A PLC:

www.recruitrider.com
A $(& offers certain specific characteristic functions that make it advantageous in an industrial
environment. It is superior in modern industrial control and communication. -ome of the ma.or
characteristic functions of a $(& are as follows!
It is a field programmable by the user.
It contains programmed functions.
It scans memory, and inputs )I/"* in a predetermined manner.
It provides error checking and diagnostics.
A $(& can provide some form of monitoring capabilities, either through indicating lamps that
show the status of inputs and outputs, or by an external device that can display the program execution
status.
It is packaged in such a way that it can withstand the temperature, humidity, vibration and noise
found in most factory environments.
A $(& can be effectively designed for a wide variety of control tasks, although it can also be
dedicated only for a particular task.
CONTROL PANEL WITH PLC:
he main difference from other computers is that $(&s are armored for severe condition )dust,
moisture, heat, cold, etc* and have the facility for extensive input/output )I/"* arrangements. hese connect
the $(& to sensors and actuators. $(&s read limit switches, analog process variables )such as temperature
and pressure*, and the positions of complex positioning systems. -ome even use machine vision. "n the
actuator side, $(&s operate electric motors, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, magnetic relays or solenoids,
or analog outputs. he input/output arrangements may be built into a simple $(&, or the $(& may have
external I/" modules attached to a computer network that plugs into the $(&.
$(& were invented as replacements for automated systems that would use hundreds or thousands of
relays, cam timers, and drum sequencers. "ften, a single $(& can be programmed to replace thousands of
relays. $rogrammable controllers were initially adopted by the automotive manufacturing industry, where
software revision replaced the re,wiring of hard,wired control panels when production models changed.
%any of the earliest $(&s expressed all decision,making logic in simple ladder logic, which
appeared similar to electrical schematic diagrams. he electricians were quite able to trace out circuit
problems with schematic diagrams using ladder logic. his program notation was chosen to reduce training
demands for the existing technicians. "ther early $(&s used a form of instruction list programming, based
on a form of instruction list programming, based on a stack,based logic solver.
he functionality of the $(& has evolved over the years to include sequential relay control, motion
control, distributed control systems and networking. he data handling, storage, processing power and
communication capabilities of some modern $(&s are approximately equivalent to desktop computers.
$(& like programming combined with remote I/" hardware, allow a general,purpose desktop computer to
overlap some $(&s in certain applications.
PLC COMPARED WITH OTHER SYSTEMS:

www.recruitrider.com
$(&s are well adapted to a range of automation tasks. here are typically industrial process in
manufacturing where the cost of developing and maintaining the automation system is high relative to the
total cost of the automation, and where the changes to the system to be expected during its operating life.
$(&s contain input and output devices compatible with industrial pilot devices and controls0 little electrical
design is required, and the design problem centers on expressing the desired sequence of operations in
ladder logic )or function chart* notation. $(& applications are typically highly customized systems so the
cost of the packaged $(& is low compared to the cost of mass produced goods, customized control systems
are economic due to the lower cost of the components, which can be optimally chosen instead of a
1generic2 solution, and where the non 3recurring engineering charges are spread over thousands of sales.
4or high volume or very simple fixed automation tasks, different techniques are used. 4or example, an
electromechanical cam timer costing only a few dollars in production quantities would control a consumer
dishwasher.
A microcontroller,based design would be appropriate where hundreds or thousands of units will be
produced and so the development cost )design of power supplies and input/output hardware* can be spread
over many sales, and where the end,user would not need to alter the control. Automotive applications are
an example! millions of units are built each year, and very few end,users alter the programming of these
controllers. 'owever, some specialty vehicles such as transit busses economically use $(&s instead of
custom,designed controls, because the volumes are low and the development cost would be uneconomic.
5ery complex process control, such as used in the chemical industry, may require algorithms and
performance beyond the capability of even high,performance $(&s. 5ery high,speed or precision controls
may also require customized solutions0 for example, aircraft flight controls. $(&s may include logic for
single,variable feedback analog control loop, a 1proportional, integral, derivative2 or 1$I# controller2. A
$I# loop could be used to control the temperature of a manufacturing process, for example. 'istorically
$(&s were usually configured with only a few analog control loops0 where process required hundreds or
thousands of loops, a distributed control system )#&-* would instead be used. 'owever, as $(&s have
become more powerful, the boundary between #&- and $(& applications has become less clear,cut.
PROGRAMMING:
6arly $(&s, up to the mid,789:s, were programmed using proprietary programming panels or special,
purpose programming terminals, which often had dedicated function keys representing the various logical
elements of $(& programs. $rograms were stored on cassette tape cartridges. 4acilities for printing and
documentation were stored on cassette tape cartridges. 4acilities for printing and documentation were very
minimal due to lack of memory capacity. %ore recently, $(& programs are typically written in a special
application on a personal computer, then downloaded by a direct,connection cable or over a network to the
$(&. he very oldest $(&s used non,volatile magnetic core memory but now the program is stored in the
$(& either in battery,backed,up ;A% or some other non,volatile flash memory.
6arly $(&s were designed to be used by electricians who would learn $(& programming on the .ob.
hese $(&s were programmed in 1ladder logic2, which strongly resembles a schematic diagram of relay
logic. %odern $(&s can be programmed in a variety of ways, from ladder logic to more traditional
programming languages such as <A-I& and &. Another method is -tate (ogic, a 5ery 'igh (evel
$rogramming (anguage designed to program $(&s based on -tate ransition #iagrams.
;ecently, the International standard I6& =77>7,> has become popular. I6& =77>7,> currently
defines five programming languages for programmable control systems!
4<# )4unction <lock #iagram*

www.recruitrider.com
(# )(adder #iagram*
- )-tructured ext, similar to the $ascal programming language*
I( )Instruction (ist, similar to assembly language*
-4& )-equential 4unction &hart*.
hese techniques emphasize logical organization of operations.
USER INTERFACE:
$(&s may need to interact with the people for the purpose of configuration, alarm reporting or
everyday control. A 'uman,%achine Interface )'%I* is employed for this purpose. '%I?s are also
reffered to as %%I?s )%an,%achine Interface* and @+I )@raphical +ser Interface*.
A simple system may use buttons and lights to interact with the user. ext displays are available as
well as graphical touch screens. %ost modern $(&s can communicate over a network to some other
system, such as a computer running a -&A#A )-upervisory &ontrol And #ata Acquisition* system or web
browser.
COMMUNICATIONS:
$(&s usually have built in communications ports usually 8,$in ;-A>A, and optionally for ;-B9C and
6thernet. %odbus or #47 is usually included as one of the communications protocols. "thersD options
include various fieldbuses such as #eviceEet or $rofibus. "ther communications protocols that may be
used are listed in the (ist of automation protocols
CURRENT EMPHASES IN AUTOMATION:
&urrently, for manufacturing companies, the purpose of automation has shifted from increasing
productivity and reducing costs, to broader issues, such as increasing quality and flexibility in the
manufacturing process.
he old focus on using automation simply to increase productivity and reduce costs was seen to be
shortsighted, because it is also necessary to provide a skilled workforce who can make repairs and manage
the machinery. %oreover, the initial costs of automation were high and often could not be recovered by the
time entirely new manufacturing processes replaced the old. )Fapan?s 1robot .unkyards2 were once world
famous in the manufacturing industry.*
Automation is now often applied primarily to increase quality in the manufacturing process, where
automation can increase quality substantially. 4or example, automobile and truck pistons used to be
installed into engines manually. his is rapidly being transitioned to automated machine installation,
because the error rate for manual installment was around 7,7.CG, but has been reduced to :.::::7G with
automation. 'azardous operations, such as oil refining the manufacturing of industrial chemicals, and all
forms of mental working, were always early contenders for automation.
Another ma.or shift in automation is the increased emphasis on flexibility and convertibility in the
manufacturing process. %anufactures are increasingly demanding the ability to easily switch from

www.recruitrider.com
manufacturing $roduct A to manufacturing $roduct < without having to completely rebuild the production
lines.
SAFETY ISSUES OF INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION:
"ne safety issue with automation is that while it is often viewed as a way to minimize human error in a
system, increasing the degree and levels of automation also increases the consequences of error. 4or
example, he hree %ile Island nuclear event was largely due to over,reliance on 1automated safety2
systems. +nfortunately, in the event, the designers had never anticipated the actual failure mode which
occurred, so both the 1automated safety2 systems and their human overseers were inundated with vast
amounts of largely irrelevant information. With automation we have machines designed by )fallible* people
with high levels of expertise, which operate at speeds well beyond human ability to react, being operated by
people with relatively more limited education )or other failings, as in <hopal disaster or &hernobyl
disaster*. +ltimately, with increasing levels of automation over ever larger domains of activities, when
something goes wrong the consequences rapidly approach the catastrophic. his is true for all complex
systems however, and one of the ma.or goals of safety engineering for nuclear reactors, for example, is to
make safety mechanisms as simple and as foolproof as possible.
Features
&ontrol panel with $(&
he main difference from other computers is that $(&s are armored for severe condition )dust, moisture,
heat, cold, etc* and have the facility for extensive input/output )I/"* arrangements. hese connect the $(&
to sensors and actuators. $(&s read limit switches, analog process variables )such as temperature and
pressure*, and the positions of complex positioning systems. -ome even use machine vision. "n the
actuator side, $(&s operate electric motors, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, magnetic relays or solenoids,
or analog outputs. he input/output arrangements may be built into a simple $(&, or the $(& may have
external I/" modules attached to a computer network that plugs into the $(&.
$(&s were invented as replacements for automated systems that would use hundreds or thousands of
relays, cam timers, and drum sequencers. "ften, a single $(& can be programmed to replace thousands of
relays. $rogrammable controllers were initially adopted by the automotive manufacturing industry, where
software revision replaced the re,wiring of hard,wired control panels when production models changed.
%any of the earliest $(&s expressed all decision making logic in simple ladder logic which appeared
similar to electrical schematic diagrams. he electricians were quite able to trace out circuit problems with
schematic diagrams using ladder logic. his program notation was chosen to reduce training demands for
the existing technicians. "ther early $(&s used a form of instruction list programming, based on a stack,
based logic solver.
he functionality of the $(& has evolved over the years to include sequential relay control, motion control,
process control, distributed control systems and networking. he data handling, storage, processing power
and communication capabilities of some modern $(&s are approximately equivalent to desktop computers.
$(&,like programming combined with remote I/" hardware, allow a general,purpose desktop computer to
overlap some $(&s in certain applications.
+nder the I6& =77>7,> standard, $(&s can be programmed using standards,based programming
languages. A graphical programming notation called -equential 4unction &harts is available on certain
programmable controllers.
PLC comare! "#t$ ot$er co%tro& s'stems
$(&s are well,adapted to a range of automation tasks. hese are typically industrial processes in
manufacturing where the cost of developing and maintaining the automation system is high relative to the
total cost of the automation, and where changes to the system would be expected during its operational life.
$(&s contain input and output devices compatible with industrial pilot devices and controls0 little electrical

www.recruitrider.com
design is required, and the design problem centers on expressing the desired sequence of operations in
ladder logic )or function chart* notation. $(& applications are typically highly customized systems so the
cost of a packaged $(& is low compared to the cost of a specific custom,built controller design. "n the
other hand, in the case of mass,produced goods, customized control systems are economic due to the lower
cost of the components, which can be optimally chosen instead of a HgenericH solution, and where the non,
recurring engineering charges are spread over thousands of sales.
4or high volume or very simple fixed automation tasks, different techniques are used. 4or example, a
consumer dishwasher would be controlled by an electromechanical cam timer costing only a few dollars in
production quantities.
A microcontroller,based design would be appropriate where hundreds or thousands of units will be
produced and so the development cost )design of power supplies and input/output hardware* can be spread
over many sales, and where the end,user would not need to alter the control. Automotive applications are
an example0 millions of units are built each year, and very few end,users alter the programming of these
controllers. 'owever, some specialty vehicles such as transit busses economically use $(&s instead of
custom,designed controls, because the volumes are low and the development cost would be uneconomic.
5ery complex process control, such as used in the chemical industry, may require algorithms and
performance beyond the capability of even high,performance $(&s. 5ery high,speed or precision controls
may also require customized solutions0 for example, aircraft flight controls.
$(&s may include logic for single,variable feedback analog control loop, a Hproportional, integral,
derivativeH or H$I# controller.H A $I# loop could be used to control the temperature of a manufacturing
process, for example. 'istorically $(&s were usually configured with only a few analog control loops0
where processes required hundreds or thousands of loops, a distributed control system )#&-* would instead
be used. 'owever, as $(&s have become more powerful, the boundary between #&- and $(& applications
has become less clear,cut.
D#(#ta& a%! a%a&o( s#(%a&s
#igital or discrete signals behave as binary switches, yielding simply an "n or "ff signal )7 or :, rue or
4alse, respectively*. $ushbuttons, limit switches, and photoelectric sensors are examples of devices
providing a discrete signal. #iscrete signals are sent using either voltage or current, where a specific range
is designated as On and another as Off. 4or example, a $(& might use AB 5 #& I/", with values above AA
5 #& representing On, values below A5#& representing Off, and intermediate values undefined. Initially,
$(&s had only discrete I/".
Analog signals are like volume controls, with a range of values between zero and full,scale. hese are
typically interpreted as integer values )counts* by the $(&, with various ranges of accuracy depending on
the device and the number of bits available to store the data. As $(&s typically use 7=,bit signed binary
processors, the integer values are limited between ,>A,I=9 and J>A,I=I. $ressure, temperature, flow, and
weight are often represented by analog signals. Analog signals can use voltage or current with a magnitude
proportional to the value of the process signal. 4or example, an analog B,A: mA or : , 7: 5 input would be
converted into an integer value of : , >AI=I.
&urrent inputs are less sensitive to electrical noise )i.e. from welders or electric motor starts* than voltage
inputs.
E)am&e
As an example, say the facility needs to store water in a tank. he water is drawn from the tank by another
system, as needed, and our example system must manage the water level in the tank.
+sing only digital signals, the $(& has two digital inputs from float switches )tank empty and tank full*.
he $(& uses a digital output to open and close the inlet valve into the tank.
If both float switches are off )down* the $(& will open the valve to let more water in. "nce both switches
are on )up*, the $(& will automatically shut the inlet to stop the water from overflowing. wo parallel float
switches )a logical ";* are used to prevent a DflutterD )a ripple or a wave* condition where any water usage
opens the valve or activates the pump for a very short time and then deactivates for a short time, and so on,
causing the system to wear out faster.
An analog system might use a water pressure sensor or a load cell, and an ad.ustable )throttling* valve. he
$(& could use a $I# feedback loop to control the valve opening. he load cell is connected to an analog

www.recruitrider.com
input and the valve is connected to an analog output. his system fills the tank faster when there is less
water in the tank. If the water level drops rapidly, the valve can be opened wide. If water is only dripping
out of the tank, the valve ad.usts to slowly drip water back into the tank.
In this system, to avoid DflutterD ad.ustments that can wear out the valve, many $(&s incorporate
HhysteresisH which essentially creates a HdeadbandH of activity. A technician ad.usts this deadband so the
valve moves only for a significant change in rate. his will in turn minimize the motion of the valve, and
reduce its wear.
A real system might combine both approaches, using float switches and simple valves to prevent spills, and
a rate sensor and rate valve to optimize refill rates and prevent water hammer. <ackup and maintenance
methods can make a real system very complicated.
S'stem sca&e
A small $(& will have a fixed number of connections built in for inputs and outputs. ypically, expansions
are available if the base model does not have enough I/".
%odular $(&s have a chassis )also called a rack* into which is placed modules with different functions.
he processor and selection of I/" modules is customised for the particular application. -everal racks can
be administered by a single processor, and may have thousands of inputs and outputs. A special high speed
serial I/" link is used so that racks can be distributed away from the processor, reducing the wiring costs
for large plants.
$(&s used in larger I/" systems may have peer,to,peer )$A$* communication between processors. his
allows separate parts of a complex process to have individual control while allowing the subsystems to co,
ordinate over the communication link. hese communication links are also often used for '%I )'uman,
%achine Interface* devices such as keypads or $&,type workstations. -ome of todayDs $(&s can
communicate over a wide range of media including ;-,B9C, &oaxial, and even 6thernet for I/" control at
network speeds up to 7:: %bit/s.
Pro(ramm#%(
6arly $(&s, up to the mid,789:s, were programmed using proprietary programming panels or special,
purpose programming terminals, which often had dedicated function keys representing the various logical
elements of $(& programs. $rograms were stored on cassette tape cartridges. 4acilities for printing and
documentation were very minimal due to lack of memory capacity. %ore recently, $(& programs are
typically written in a special application on a personal computer, then downloaded by a direct,connection
cable or over a network to the $(&. he very oldest $(&s used non,volatile magnetic core memory but
now the program is stored in the $(& either in battery,backed,up ;A% or some other non,volatile flash
memory.
6arly $(&s were designed to be used by electricians who would learn $(& programming on the .ob. hese
$(&s were programmed in Hladder logicH, which strongly resembles a schematic diagram of relay logic.
%odern $(&s can be programmed in a variety of ways, from ladder logic to more traditional programming
languages such as <A-I& and &. Another method is -tate (ogic, a 5ery 'igh (evel $rogramming
(anguage designed to program $(&s based on -tate ransition #iagrams.
;ecently, the International standard I6& =77>7,> has become popular. I6& =77>7,> currently defines five
programming languages for programmable control systems! 4<# )4unction block diagram*, (# )(adder
diagram*, - )-tructured text, similar to the $ascal programming language*, I( )Instruction list, similar to
assembly language* and -4& )-equential function chart*. hese techniques emphasize logical organization
of operations.
While the fundamental concepts of $(& programming are common to all manufacturers, differences in I/"
addressing, memory organization and instruction sets mean that $(& programs are never perfectly
interchangeable between different makers. 6ven within the same product line of a single manufacturer,
different models may not be directly compatible.
User #%ter*ace

www.recruitrider.com
$(&s may need to interact with people for the purpose of configuration, alarm reporting or everyday
control. A 'uman,%achine Interface )'%I* is employed for this purpose. '%IDs are also referred to as
%%IDs )%an %achine Interface* and @+I )@raphical +ser Interface*.
A simple system may use buttons and lights to interact with the user. ext displays are available as well as
graphical touch screens. %ost modern $(&s can communicate over a network to some other system, such
as a computer running a -&A#A )-upervisory &ontrol And #ata Acquisition* system or web browser.
Commu%#cat#o%s
PLCs usua&&' $a+e ,u#&t #% commu%#cat#o%s orts usua&&' -.P#% RS/0/1 a%! ot#o%a&&' *or RS234 a%!
Et$er%et5 Mo!,us or DF6 #s usua&&' #%c&u!e! as o%e o* t$e commu%#cat#o%s rotoco&s5 Ot$ers7
ot#o%s #%c&u!e +ar#ous *#e&!,uses suc$ as De+#ceNet or Pro*#,us5 Ot$er commu%#cat#o%s
rotoco&s t$at ma' ,e use! are &#ste! #% t$e L#st o* automat#o% rotoco&s5

H#stor'
he $(& was invented in response to the needs of the American automotive industry. <efore the $(&,
control, sequencing, and safety interlock logic for manufacturing automobiles was accomplished using
relays, timers and dedicated closed,loop controllers. he process for updating such facilities for the yearly
model change,over was very time consuming and expensive, as the relay systems needed to be rewired by
skilled electricians. In 78=9 @% 'ydramatic )the automatic transmission division of @eneral %otors*
issued a request for proposal for an electronic replacement for hard,wired relay systems.
he winning proposal came from <edford Associates of <edford, %assachusetts. he first $(&, designated
the :9B because it was <edford Associates eighty,fourth pro.ect, was the result. <edford Associates started
a new company dedicated to developing, manufacturing, selling, and servicing this new product! %odicon,
which stood for %"dular #Igital &"Etroller. "ne of the people who worked on that pro.ect was #ick
%orley, who is considered to be the HfatherH of the $(&. he %odicon brand was sold in 78II to @ould
6lectronics, and later acquired by @erman &ompany A6@ and then by 4rench -chneider 6lectric, the
current owner.
"ne of the very first :9B models built is now on display at %odiconDs headquarters in Eorth Andover,
%assachusetts. It was presented to %odicon by @%, when the unit was retired after nearly twenty years of
uninterrupted service.
he automotive industry is still one of the largest users of $(&s, and %odicon still numbers some of its
controller models such that they end with eighty,four. $(&s are used in many different industries and
machines such as packaging and semiconductor machines. Well known $(& brands are Allen,<radley,
%itsubishi 6lectric, A<< (td., 'oneywell, -iemens, %odicon, "mron, @eneral 6lectric, -quare,#
)elemecanique* and $anasonic )a brand name of %atsushita*.
(ess known $(&s that are programmable in <A-I& are available from &+<("& )&om4ile echnology* or
ri,$(& )riangle ;esearch Intl*.
I%!ustr#a& A&#cat#o%s
K &ommunications to $(&s on moving platforms
K In,plant -&A#A network communications
K ;emote pump stations/substations communications
K %aintenance of remote $(&s
K 4actory floor for data collection

www.recruitrider.com