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THE ROLE OF PLC AND MICROCONTROLLER IN INDUSTRY

Evita Nuriya Rosada


2515 100 094
evita15@mhs.ie.its.ac.id

Intoductions
The world keeps moving and change. Nothing in this world stays the same.
For example, people used to use public telephone to communicate, now they only
need to use their cellphone and public telephone is not used anymore. Currently,
the worlds undergo globalization. Many information can easily we get, new
technology investation also starts to pop up everywhere. As an industrial
engineer, it is our job to not to fall behind on the changes that happen in this
world. We, as an industrial engineer must use this opportunity and utilize the
abundant information and many new investment in technologies to make a better
changes.
Manufacture derived from two Latin words manus (hand) and factus
(make). In other words, manufacture means made by hand. But, this definition is
already old and used only when it is first appeared on 1567 A.D. Nowadays, most
manufacturing is accomplished by automated and computer-controlled
machinery that is manually supervised. Now, automation can be said as the heart
of manufacturing process.
Automation can be defined as a technology that is related with the
applicability of the mechanical, electronical, and computer based system with the
purpose to operate and control a production system (Groover, 2005). The
automated elements in the production system can be categorized into two, those
are automated manufacturing system in the production floor and computer-based
manufacturing support system. In the modern production system, those two
category have an overlapping work area, because automated manufacturing
system that is occuring in the production floor is often applied by computer
system and connected with computerized manufacturing support system and
management information system on the level of factory and company.
Automated manufacturing system occurs in the factory level on physical
products. The operations that is done automatically is for example processing,
assembly, inspection or transferring material where in some cases, two or more
operations happens on one system. Those operation is defined as automated
because human participation is really low compared with the other similar
process that is run manually. An automated manufacturing system can be
categorized into three basic model, one of them is programmable automation.
In programmable automation, production device is designed so that it has
a capability to changes the sequence of operation to handle a different product
configuration. The sequence of operation is controlled by a program. The
program is a compilation of instruction codes and can be read and translated by
system. A new program can be prepared and inserted into the device to create
new products. The characteristics of this automation are it needs high investation
on the general purpose machine, the production rate is lower that fixed
automation, the flexibility to face variation and changes from product
configuration, and it is the most approppriate automation for batch production.
One of the example of programmable automation is PLC (Programmable Logic
Controller) (Groover, 2005).

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Programmable logic controllers, also called programmable controllers or
PLC, are solid-state members of the computer family, using integrated circuits
instead of electromechanical devices to implement control functions. They are
capable of storing instructions, such as sequencing, timing, counting, arithmetic,
data manipulation, and communication, to control industrial machines and
processes (Bryan, 1997). In simple words, PLC can be defined as industrial
computers with specially designed architecture in both their central units (the
PLC itself) and their interfacing circuitry to field devices (input/output connections
to the real world).
PLC are not designed so that only computer programmers can set up or
change the program. Thus, the designers of the PLC have pre-programmed it so
that the control program can be entered using a simple, rather intuitive, form of
language. The term logic is used because programming is primarily concerned
with implementing logic and switching operations. For example, if A or B occurs,
then switch C will be on and if A and B occurs, switch D will aslo be on. Input
devices, for example sensors and ouput devices for example motors are
connected to the PLC.
Since the beginning, PLC has been successfully applied in every segment
of industry, including steel mills, paper plants, food-processing plants, chemical
plants, and power plants. PLC can do many things, for example repetitive ON/OFF
control of simple machine to control manufacturing process. PLC is applied in
many fields. In automative industry, PLC is used on internal combustion engine
monitoring. In internal combustion engine monitoring, a PLC get the data
recorded from sensors located at the internal combustion engine. The data of
measurements taken include water temperature, oil temperature, RPMs, torque,
echaust temperature, oil pressure, manifold pressure, and timing. PLC also often
used in chemical and petrochemical industry, for example in the dyes process.
PLC monitor and control the dye processing used in the textile industry. They
match and blend colors to make sure that the colour fit the set values.
Other than PLC, the most often used analyzer is microcontroller. A
microcontroller is a compact microcomputer designed to govern the operation of
embedded systems. Microcontrollers are used in automatically controlled
products and devices, such as automobile engine control systems, implantable
medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools.
Digital and analog I/P and O/P (inputs and outputs) are set as per industry
standard. For ease and flexibility for employing this system, the software
interface is provided by programming various functional blocks in the system. A
typical microcontroller includes a processor, memory, and peripherals. The
simplest microcontrollers facilitate the operation of the electromechanical
systems found in everyday convenience items. Originally, such use was confined
to large machines such as furnaces and automobile engines to optimize efficiency
and performance.
In recent years, microcontrollers can be found in everyday items such as
ovens, refrigerators, toasters, clock radios, etc. In industry, microcrocontroller is
used for various things, mainly to operate or moves the robot. For example, in
bottled softdrink production, microcontroller is used in the displacement process.
When the sensor detect the empty bottle, it will give information to the
microcontroller and it will give command to the robot to moves the bottle to the
conveyor.

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Content
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a digital computer used for the
automation of various electro-mechanical processes in industries (Bolton, 2006).
In general, there are two functions of PLC. First, control sequential. PLC process
the binary input signal into outputs that are used to process the sequence of
production. PLC maintain all the steps in a sequential process so that the steps is
in proper sequence. Second, plant monitoring. PLC continuously monitors a
system ( for example temperature, pressure, level of altitude) and take necessary
action in connection with a controlled process (for example, already exceeds the
limit value) or displays a message to the operators.
Nowadays, PLC can do many things. They are capable of communicating
with other control systems, providing production reports, scheduling production,
and diagnosing their own failures and those of the machine or process. These
enhancements have made programmable controllers as the key of an industry to
meet todays demands for higher quality and productivity. Despite the fact that
programmable controllers have become much more modern, they still retain the
simplicity and ease of operation that was intended in their original design.
Many manufacturing uses PLC, because it have a great advantage that the
same basic controller can be used with a wide range of control system. To modify
a control system and the rules that are to be used, all that is necessary is for an
operator to insert a different set of instructions. There is no need to rewire. The
result is a flexible, cost effective, system which can be used with control system
which vary quite widely in their nature and complexity.
A programmable controller consist of two basic sections, those are the
central processing unit and the input/output interface system. The central
processing unit (CPU) governs all PLC activities. CPU is formed by three
components, those are processor, memory system and system power supply.
The operation of a programmable controller is relatively simple. The input/
output (I/O) system is physically connected to the field devices that are located in
the machine or that are used in the control of a process. These field devices may
be discrete or analog input/output devices, such as limit switches, pressure
transducers, solenoids, etc. The I/O interfaces provide the connection between
the CPU and the information providers (inputs) and controllable devices (outputs).
During its operation, the CPU completes three processes. First, it reads or accepts
the input data from the field devices via the input interfaces. Second, it executes
or performs the control program stored in the memory system. Third, it writes or
updates the output devices via the ouput interfaces. This process of sequentially
reading the inputs, executing the program in memory, and updating the outputs
is knows as scanning (Bryan, 1997).
The input/output system forms the interface by which field devices are
connected to the controller. The main purpose of the interface is to condition the
various signals received from or sent to external field devices. Incoming signals
from sensors (e.g., push buttons, limit switches, analog sensors, selector
switches, and thumbwheel switches) are wired to terminals on the input
interfaces. Devices that will be controlled, like motor starters, solenoid valves,
pilot lights, and position valves, are connected to the terminals of the output
interfaces. The system power supply provides all the voltages required for the
proper operation of the various central processing unit sections (Bryan, 1997).

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There are two common types of mechanical design for PLC systems, a
single box and the modular or rack types. The single box type (brick) is
commonly used for small programmable controllers and is supplied as an integral
compact package complete with power supply, processor, memory, and input or
output units. Typically such a PLC might have 6, 8, 12, or 24 inputs and 4, 8, or 16
outputs and a memory which can store some 300 to 1000 instructions. The
example is Mitsubishi compact PLC MELSEC FX30, OMRON CPM1A PLC. The
modular or rack type consists of separate modules for power supply, processor,
etc., which are often mounted on rails within a metal cabinet. It can be used for
all sizes of programmable controllers and has the various functional units
packaged in individual modules which can be plugged into sockets in a base rack.
The mix of modules required for a particular purpose is decided by the user and
the appropriate onexs the plugged into the rack. Thus it is comparatibely easy to
expand the number of input/output (I/O) connections by just adding more
input/output modules or to expand the memory by adding more memory units.
The example is Allen-Bradley PLC-5 PLC of Rockwell automation.
Microcontroller is a (stripped-down) processor which is equipped with
memory,
timers, (parallel) I/O pins and other on-chip peripherals. The driving element
behind all this is cost. Integrating all elements on one chip saves space and leads
to both lower manufacturing costs and shorter development times. This saves
both time and money, which are key factors in embedded systems. Additional
advantages of the integration are easy upgradability, lower power consumption,
and higher reliability, which are also very important aspects in embedded
systems. On the downside, using a microcontroller to solve a task in software that
could also be solved with a hardware solution will not give you the same speed
that the hardware solution could achieve. Hence, applications which require very
short reaction times might still call for a hardware solution. Most applications,
however, and in particular those that require some sort of human interaction, do
not
need such fast reaction times, so for these applications microcontrollers are a
good choice (Gunther, 2007).
In general, there are some functions of microcontroller. First, hardware
interrupts. Interrupts are special inputs that provide a means to get the attention
of the microcontroller. When the interrupt is triggered, the controller can
temporarily suspend the execution of normal program and run a special
subprogram. Second, Analog/mixed-signal (A/MS). This refers to inputs (and often
outputs) that can handle analog or digital signals, under software guidance.
Third, external reset. This is an input that resets the microcontroller so it clears
any data in memory and restarts its program. Fourth, switch debouncer. This
feature cleans up the signal transition when a mechanical switch opens or closes.
With the debouncer, the control electronics sees just a single transition so the
mistranslation can not happen. Fifth, input pull-up (and/or pull-down) resistors are
required for many kinds of inputs to control electronics. If the source of the input
is not actively generating a signal, the input could float and therefore confuse
the robots brain. The pull-up/pull-down resistors, which may be built into a
microcontroller and activated thorugh a software, prevent this floating from
happening.

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Nowadays, there are many kinds of microcontroller to choose from. To
select the right microcontroller, first we must choose the controller family. It
defines the controllers architecture. All controllers of a family contain the same
processor core so they all are code-compatible, but they differ in the additional
components like the number of timers or the amount of memory. There are many
different controller families, for example 8051, PIC, HC, ARM. Even within a single
controller family, there are many different choices of controllers. After the
controller family has been choosen, the next step is to choose the right controller.
Controllers have different memory configuration and I/O. There is a rule related to
the memory of controller that is choosen. The application shoul take no more
than 80% of the controllers memory. The rule can probably be extended to all
controller resources in general.
In the making of final project, we do not use PLC but we use
microcontroller. It is because PLC is usually used for large manufacturing process.
For final project, we use microcontroller ATMega16. ATMega 16 is a 8-bit
microcontroller. In the final project, it is used to control ON/OFF of the machines.
There is a switch sensor, so when the machine is located on the floor, the sensor
will read the signal and the microcontroller will turn ON the machine. This
microcontroller is equipped with timer. So, it is also used as a timer to control the
mixing process of the yeast and soybean.

Conclusion
Everything in this worlds now can make our life easier, so does
automation. Automation really helps in the manufacturing process. With
automation, production rate is increasing and many process that is hard to be
done before can be done easily now. The example of automation that helps in
manufaturing process is PLC and microcontroller.
PLC is is a digital computer used for the automation of various electro-
mechanical processes in industries. They are capable of storing instructions, such
as sequencing, timing, counting, arithmetic, data manipulation, and
communication, to control industrial machines and processes. Microcontroller is a
compact microcomputer designed to govern the operation of embedded systems.
Both PLC and microcontroller is already applied in many different industrial field.
For example, in the bottled softdrink manufacturing process, PLC and
microcontroller is both used. Another example is in textile industry, PLC is used
for dying process, etc. Another example of a more simple use, microcontroller is
used in the machine of final project to control the ON/OFF and used as a timer.
PLC and microcontroller is the key of a manufacturing process in industry
nowadays. Both of it helps to meet the high demand and make the production
run effectively and efficiently. Undestanding many different PLC and
microcontroller is not a great task. But, it is already out job as an industrial
engineer to know how to choose the right PLC and microcontroller and how to run
them to make the manufacturing process can be better.

References:
Administrator, 2015, Microcontroller Types and Applications, accessed 3
November 2016, <http://www.electronicshub.org/microcontrollers/>
Atta, Engineer Tahla, 2012, Introduction to Manufacturing, accessed 2 November
2016, <http://www.green-mechanic.com/2014/02/manufacturing.html>

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Bolton, W. , 2006, Programmable Logic Controllers Fourth Edition, Elsevier
Newnes, United Kingdom, accessed 2 November 2016,
<http://www.etf.unssa.rs.ba/~slubura/Procesni%20racunari/Programmable
%20Logic%20Controllers%204th%20Edition%20(W%20Bolton).pdf>
Byran, L.A. and E.A. Bryan, 1997, Programmable Controllers Theory and
Implementation Second Edition, Industrial Text Company, United States of
America, accessed 2 November 2016,
<http://ce.sharif.edu/~robotics/Documents/PLC/PLC_Theory%20Book.PDF >
Grindling, Gunther and Bettina Weiss, 2007, Introduction to Microcontrollers,
accessed 3 November
2016,<https://ti.tuwien.ac.at/ecs/teaching/courses/mclu/theorymaterial/Micr
ocontroller.pdf>
Groover, Mikell P. , 2005, Otomasi, Sistem Produksi, dan Computer-Integrated
Manufacturing, Penerbit Guna Widya, Surabaya.

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