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Robotics & Automation Lab

LAB No. 1
INTRODUCTION TO PLC HARDWARE
AND SOFTWARE
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Objectives

1.To study about the hardware of PLC.


2.To get familiar with the software used for simulation and writing program to PLC.

Introduction to PLC

Controllers may consist of logical components and connections among them. Depending on the
current logical value of input, output is produced to change the status of the system. PLC may
realize such controllers.

Today, the command and feedback control systems of industrial automation systems are realized
by programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

In order for PLCs to work as controllers, they must be able to realize some functions. These
functions are basic and combinational logic operations such as AND, OR, AND-NOT, OR-NOT,
timer and counter operations. In addition to these, PLCs may have the ability to realize several
transfer, mathematical, and PID operations.

PLC consists of three main parts: CPU, memory and I/O units.

CPU is the brain of PLC. It reads the input values from inputs, runs the program existed in the
program memory and writes the output values to the output register. Memory is used to store
different types of information in the binary structure form. The memory range of S7-200 is
composed of three main parts as program, parameter, and retentive data fields. I/O units provide
communication between PLC control systems.

Major Types of Industrial Control Systems


Industrial control system or ICS comprise of different types of control systems that are currently
in operation in various industries. These control systems include PLC, SCADA and DCS and
various others:

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PLC

They are based on the Boolean logic operations whereas some models use timers and some
have continuous control. These devices are computer based and are used to control various process
and equipments within a facility. PLCs control the components in the DCS and SCADA systems
but they are primary components in smaller control configurations.

DCS
Distributed Control Systems consists of decentralized elements and all the processes are
controlled by these elements. Human interaction is minimized so the labor costs and injuries
can be reduced.

Embedded Control

In this control system, small components are attached to the industrial computer system with
the help of a network and control is exercised.

SCADA

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition refers to a centralized system and this system is
composed of various subsystems like Remote Telemetry Units, Human Machine Interface,
Programmable Logic Controller or PLC and Communications.

PLC Hardware
Hardware Components of a PLC System

Processor unit (CPU), Memory, Input/Output, Power supply unit, Programming device, and
other devices.

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Central Processing Unit (CPU)

CPU Microprocessor based, may allow arithmetic operations, logic operators, block memory
moves, computer interface, local area network, functions, etc.
CPU makes a great number of check-ups of the PLC controller itself so eventual errors would be
discovered early.

System Busses

The internal paths along which the digital signals flow within the PLC are called busses.
The system has four busses:
The CPU uses the data bus for sending data between the different elements,
The address bus to send the addresses of locations for accessing stored data,
The control bus for signals relating to internal control actions,
The system bus is used for communications between the I/O ports and the I/O unit.

Memory

System (ROM) to give permanent storage for the operating system and the fixed data used by the
CPU.
RAM for data. This is where information is stored on the status of input and output devices and
the values of timers and counters and other internal devices. EPROM for ROMs that can be
programmed and then the program made permanent.

I/O Sections

Inputs monitor field devices, such as switches and sensors.

Outputs control other devices, such as motors, pumps, solenoid valves, and lights.

Power Supply

Most PLC controllers work either at 24 VDC or 220 VAC. Some PLC controllers have electrical
supply as a separate module, while small and medium series already contain the supply module.

Programming Device

The programming device is used to enter the required program into the memory of the processor.
The program is developed in the programming device and then transferred to the memory unit of
the PLC.

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PLC Operation
Input Relays

These are connected to the outside world. They physically exist and receive signals from switches,
sensors, etc. Typically they are not relays but rather they are transistors.

Internal Utility Relays

These do not receive signals from the outside world nor do they physically exist. They are
simulated relays and are what enables a PLC to eliminate external relays.

There are also some special relays that are dedicated to performing only one task.

Counters

These do not physically exist. They are simulated counters and they can be programmed to count
pulses.
Typically these counters can count up, down or both up and down. Since they are simulated they
are limited in their counting speed. Some manufacturers also include high speed counters that are
hardware based.

Timers

These also do not physically exist. They come in many varieties and increments. The most
common type is an on-delay type. Others include off-delay and both retentive and non-retentive
types. Increments vary from 1ms through 1s.

Output Relays

These are connected to the outside world. They physically exist and send on/off signals to
solenoids, lights, etc. They can be transistors, relays, or triacs depending upon the model chosen.

Data Storage

Typically there are registers assigned to simply store data. Usually used as temporary storage for
math or data manipulation. They can also typically be used to store data when power is removed
from the PLC.

Choosing the correct I/O hardware


By knowing the number of any type of I/O lines we need and the number of lines available on a
given module, the final shopping list of modules and the size of the PLC system are determined.
In addition, build in at least 20 per cent extra capacity to allow to future modifications or to solve
problems identified during commissioning.

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Discrete I/O modules


Input selection

For each input we need to determine the followings:

Voltage level.
Response speed.

Output Selection

For each output we need to consider the followings:

Voltage level.
The power that PLC outputs need to switch.
Output resistance and electrical noise can be an issue in cases where low level signals are
to be switched.

Introduction to PLC software GX developer


GX developer is the programming software for Mitsubishi PLCs which can simulate the
program and also can write that tested program to PLC.

Following are the instructions to get started with GX developer:

Step 1: How to start the programming tool on the PC


Direct the mouse screen pointer to the Start icon at the bottom of the screen in the windows
menu bar. Press the Start icon once with the left mouse key as shown in the diagram below.

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A pop up menu should have been displayed as shown above. Now select the program icon from
the popped up menu.

Direct the mouse pointer down to the MELSOFT Application icon, continuing on to the GX
Developer, where you click the mouse left button while hovering over the GX Developer icon. A
screen similar to the diagram below will be loaded.

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Step 2: How to start a new project


At the top left of the screen close to the blue bar, select the Project text button and the menu below
will be displayed. Select a New Project.

When the New Project Icon is selected you will be asked to select the PLC to which the software
is connected. The room K044 the PC is connected to the FXO(S) PLC so this option should be
chosen. Make sure Ladder is chosen under the program type area.

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Then click OK and the following screen will be displayed.

Step 3: How start programming


The operator of the system can then construct the ladder logic they wish to be loaded on to the
PLC. See the end of this document for more information.

Step 4: Convert the program


Once the ladder logic is constructed it needs to be converted. When the code is converted the ladder
rung numbers appear automatically. If there are any ladder construction faults in the code the
software will give a warning at this time. Note however that the ladder logic may be wrong but its
construction may be correct and thus no errors appear. If the converting is not completed when
changing from this screen the last converted ladder logic will be reloaded and all new changes will
be lost.

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Step 5: Stop the PLC


On the PLC where the programming lead is attached there is a Run/Stop switch. The
whenever you are going to change the program you need to switch the PLC into Stop mode and
the green run light will be turned off.

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Step 6: Up loading the program to the PLC


The converted program can now be transferred to the PLC by clicking on the Online option
on the main bar at the top and click on to Write to PLC.

When the Write to PLC is clicked you should see the dialogue box as shown below.

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Before you click Execute make sure all the boxes are checked (or use Select All). As you become
expert and aware of the software limitations you can select only the items you wish to change.

When Execute is pressed your program will then be written to the PLC.

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Step 7: Switch the PLC to RUN mode


See step 5 above and return the switch to the Run position.

Step 8: Monitor the PLC


It is standard practice to make sure the newly uploaded program is working correctly before
leaving the PLC. By selecting Online and then Monitor the operator is able to start the
monitoring of the PLC. The operator will see the ladder logic and at the contacts and coils a blue
bar will be in place if the status is on and blank if the status is off. Remember to turn off the
monitoring if you wish to alter the code.

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The buttons highlighted in the diagram above allow for the logic block used in the ladder
logic to be constructed.
a. From left to right we have
b. Normally Open Contact
c. Branched (parallel) Normally Open Contact
d. Normally Closed Contact
e. Branched (parallel) Normally Closed Contact
f. Action (Output)
g. Instruction such as timer, counter etc
h. Insert vertical line
i. Insert horizontal line
j. Remove vertical line
k. Remove horizontal line.

Toggle between Ladder Logic and List of Instructions


If the operator wishes to view the list of instruction used to construct the current logic then the
button shown can be used to toggle between them.

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The diagram below shows the instruction list for ladder logic.

Read and write mode


If the operator wishes to put some of the ladder logic routine into read mode it will prevent the
code from being changed accidentally. The code can be put back into the run mode if desired
for changes to be made.

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Monitoring
The development software can be used for monitoring the operation of the PLC. The operator can
connect on to the PLC and monitor the PLCs logic. For technical reasons the operator cannot make
changes to the logic while the system is in run mode and/or being monitored.

Project Data List


The project data list can be used for toggling between a wider logic screen and the project data
list. This list contains key components in relation to the project:

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PLC Status Diagnostic


If the operator wishes to view current status of the PLC without having to look at it (perhaps it is
in a control panel) the PLC diagnostic screen can be utilized. By selecting Diagnostic from the
top menu you will see the screen as detailed below.

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Post Labs:

Question 1: Give an example of where a PLC could be used.

Question 2: Where would relays be used in place of PLCs?

Question 3: Give a concise description of a PLC.

Question 4: List the advantages of a PLC over relays.

Question 5: A PLC can effectively replace a number of components. Give examples and
discuss some good and bad applications of PLCs.

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Question 6: Explain why ladder logic outputs are coils?

Question 7: Identify Basic PLC module components that are marked in the figure and write
them in the table provided:

Number Part Name


1
2
3
4
5
6

Lab Instructor: Engr. Abdullah Hasan Signature: ______________

Date: ______________

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