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PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018


1. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)

a. NO and NC Electromagnetic Relay

Relays are switches that open and close circuits electromechanically or electronically. They
control one electrical circuit by opening and closing contacts in another circuit. As relay
diagrams show, when a relay contact is normally open (NO), there is an open contact when
the relay is not energized. When a relay contact is Normally Closed (NC), there is a closed
contact when the relay is not energized.

Normally-open (NO) contacts connect the circuit then the relay activated and
disconnect then the relays is deactivated
Normally-closed (NC) contacts disconnect the circuit then the relay activated the
circuit is connected then the relay is inactive.
Change-over (CO) contacts control to circuits: one normally-open contact and one
normally-closed contact with a common terminal. Simply speaking they just
switch in-between circuits

Relays are generally used to switch smaller currents in a circuit and do not usually control
power consuming devices. Protective relays can prevent equipment damage by detecting
electrical abnormalities, including overcurrent, undercurrent, overloads and reverse currents
just like what Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) had in their protection systems. In addition,
relays are also widely used to switch starting coils, heating elements, pilot lights and audible

For electromagnetic relay, contacts are opened and closed by a magnetic force and it is
remain common in industry compared to electronic relay. Many of the heavy-duty devices
and equipment using electromagnetic relay. Basic parts and functions of electromechanical
relays include:

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

1. Frame: Heavy-duty frame that contains and supports the parts of the relay.
2. Coil: Wire is wound around a metal core. The coil of wire causes an
electromagnetic field.
3. Armature: A relays moving part. The armature opens and closes the contacts. An
attached spring returns the armature to its original position.
4. Contacts: The conducting part of the switch that makes (closes) or breaks (opens)

Figure 1: Relay Diagram

b. PLC Definition

What is Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)? Programmable Logic Controllers or here

after known as PLC is a major component in industrial automation and an industrial
computer control system that continuously monitors the state of input devices and makes
decisions based upon a custom program to control the state of output devices such as
temperature above or below certain level (sensor). Almost any production line, machine
function, or process can be greatly enhanced using this type of control system. However, the
biggest benefit in using a PLC is the ability to change and replicate the operation or process
while collecting and communicating basic information. Another advantage of a PLC system
is that it is interchangeable which you can mix and match the types of input and output
devices to best suit your application.

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

c. Block Diagram of PLC

Figure 2: Block Diagram of PLC

Above shows a simplified block diagram of PLC/ PLC system layout. It has three major
sections which are inputs/outputs, programmer/monitor and CPU.

The input section converts the information into input devices or sensors so that it can be read
by PLCs CPU. While for the processor section, it reads the input and process signals and
ready to prepare for the output signals. The output section converts the output signals
coming from the processor section to high level signals and used to various output field
devices. The programmer/monitor is used to enter the users program into memory and to
monitor execution of the program.

The Programmer/Monitor (PM) is a device used to communicate with the circuits of the
PLC. The programming unit allows the engineer/technicians to enter the edit the program to
be executed. In its simplest form it can be hand-held device with membrane keypad for
program entry, and a display device (LED or LCD) for viewing program steps of functions.

I/O section is where the input and output signals connected to the input or output devices in
PLC. Input modules will have a physical connection between outer and inner part of the
device such as switches and push buttons. It allows and converts input signals into the
internal part of the device in a way or language that PLC can read. For output section, it will
just simple vice versa to the input section. Output modules such as solenoids, motor starter
and indicating lamps will then converting the output signals from PLCs CPU into signals
that devices can read.

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

CPU or well known as central processor unit is the brain of the PLC has three subparts which
are memory system, processor and power supply. The memory is the area of the CPU in
which data and information is stored and retrieved. The total memory area can be subdivided
into the following four Sections. I/O Image Memory is the input image memory consists of
memory locations used to hold the ON or OFF states of each input field devices, in the input
status file. The output status file consists of memory locations that stores the ON or OFF
states of hardware output devices in the field. Data is stored in the output status file as a
result of solving user program and is waiting to be transferred to the output module's
switching device. Data Memory used to store numerical data required in math calculation,
bar code data etc. User Memory contains user's application program.
Executive Memory is used to store an executive program or system software. An operating
system of the PLC is a special program that controls the action of CPU and consequently
the execution of the user's program. A PLC operating system designed to scan image
memory, interprets the instruction of user's program stored in main memory, and executes
the user's application program the operating system is supplied by the PLC manufacturer
and is permanently held in memory.

d. Processor and Power Supply

Processor of PLC or the brain of the system operates on DC voltages (5) that is supplied
from power supply. While the power supply for PLC converts input source power into
voltages required for internal circuitry. This power supply is an important component to run
the PLC. On top of that, processor only needs a minimal effort to provide the same functions
as relays and electromechanical devices. Below are some images of power supply that may
be found in PLC.

Figure 3: Power Supply of PLC

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

e. Input and Output Interface

I/O modules are available with various numbers of field device points, such as 4, 8, 16 and
32 point. Many types of input/output can be connected to PLC. As for input and output
modules of PLC, we can classified them into two major type of input/output which are digital
and analog. Digital inputs or outputs operate due to binary change such as ON/OFF
YES/NO. Analog inputs or outputs change over continuously variable temperature or
pressure. Alternating current (AC) are always discrete (digital) and Direct Current (DC)
always continuously (analog).

f. Input and Output devices wiring

The advantages of using PLC is the simplicity using input and output wiring. During normal
PLC operation, different methods of connecting the field device wires to the I/O Modules
offer no significant advantages over each other. Field devices can be wired differently to
provide safety and protection in the event of failures in field devices, or faults in their
electrical circuits.

"Backups" are field devices required to operate properly to provide safety in the event of a
failure of another device or fault in a circuit. If the circuit for a backup is not affected, the
backup should operate properly and continue to provide safety. The safety of sequentially
controlled systems, industrial facilities, and even personnel frequently depends on field
devices (especially the backups) operating properly.

Sink and Source connections at a DC Input Module are defined by whether or not the field
device DC power comes from a power supply external to the PLC. Neither connection has
any fault protection advantage

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

2. PLC Diagram Programming

a) The different between PLC physical ladder diagram and PLC programmed
ladder diagram

PLC physical ladder diagram PLC programmed ladder


Differences NO and NC means different For programmed ladder diagram.

compared to programmed ladder It is vice versa with physical ladder
diagram. Physical ladder diagram diagram. NO indicates to show
indicates NO as Normally-open (NO) False if it is open and True if it is
contacts connect the circuit then the closed. NC indicates to show True
relay activated and disconnect then if it is open but False when it is
the relays is deactivated. Normally- closed.
closed (NC) contacts disconnect the
circuit then the relay activated the
circuit is connected then the relay is

Ladder diagrams are simple wiring schematics drawing for electrical circuit. They are called
"ladder" diagrams because they resemble a ladder, with two vertical rails (supply power)
and as many rungs (horizontal lines) as there are control circuits to represent. Ladder logic

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

has changed into a programming language that represents a program by a graphical diagram
based on the circuit diagrams of relay logic hardware. Ladder logic is used to develop
software for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) used in industrial control applications.

b) Types of relay used in ladder diagram

Relay logic is a method of implementing combinational logic in electrical control circuits

by using several electrical relays wired in a particular configuration. The schematic
diagrams for relay logic circuits are often called line diagrams, because the inputs and
outputs are essentially drawn in a series of lines. A relay logic circuit is an electrical
network consisting of lines, or rungs, in which each line or rung must have continuity to
enable the output device.

A typical circuit consists of a number of rungs, with each rung controlling an output. This
output is controlled by a combination of input or output conditions, such as
input switches and control relays. The conditions that represent the inputs are connected in
series, parallel, or series-parallel to obtain the logic required to drive the output. The relay
logic circuit forms an electrical schematic diagram for the control of input and output
devices. Relay logic diagrams represent the physical interconnection of devices.

c) NO and NC in ladder diagram

Figure 4: Example of relay

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

Normally open contacts would represent relay contacts that would perform a connection
upon receipt of a signal. Unlike open contacts, with normally closed contacts signal will
interrupt a contact, or turn a relay off. First two relays are defined as normally open, and the
other two as normally closed. All relays react to a signal! First relay (00) has a signal and
closes its contacts. Second relay (01) does not have a signal and remains opened. Third relay
(02) has a signal and opens its contacts considering it is defined as a closed contact. Fourth
relay (03) does not have a signal and remains closed because it is so defined.

Concepts normally open and normally closed can also refer to inputs of a PLC
controller. Lets use a key as an example of an input to a PLC controller. Input where a key
is connected can be defined as an input with open or closed contacts. If it is defined as an
input with normally open contact, pushing a key will set off an instruction found after the
condition. In this case it will be an activation of a relay 00.

d) Input relay, Output relay, Internal relay, timer relay and counter relay

(i) Input Relay

Input modules provide the electrical connection between field devices (pushbuttons, limit
switches, photoeyes) and internal process of the PLC. They differ in voltages and types of
signals produced. The program, cannot change the ON and OFF status of the input relays
plus addresses for inputs which do not actually exist cannot be used.

(ii) Output Relay

Output relay is a relay that can used both AC and DC loads. A relay is non-polarized so it
can be connected either to AC or DC.

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

Even though the picture shown below is connected to AC but DC can be used as well. Output
relays which are not actually allocated can be used in the same methods as internal relays.

(iii) Internal Relay

In PLCs there are elements that are used to hold data, that is, bits and behave like relays,
being able to be switched on or off and to switch other devices on or off. Hence the term
internal relay. Such internal relays do not exist as real-world switching devices but are
merely bits in the storage memory that behave in the same way as relays. For programming,
they can be treated in the same way as an external relay output and input. Thus inputs to
external switches can be used to give an output from an internal relay. This then results in
the internal relay contacts being used, in conjunction with other external input switches, to
give an output, such as activating a motor.

(iv) Timer Relay

A timer is a special kind of relay that, when its coil is energized, must wait for a fixed length
of time before closing its contact. The waiting time is dependent on the "Set Value" (SV) of
the timer. Once the delay time is up, the timer's N.O. contacts will be closed for as long as
its coil remains energized. When the coil is de-energized (i.e. turned OFF), all the timer's
N.O. contacts will be opened immediately. However, if the coil is de-energized before the
delay time is up, the timer will be reset and its contact will never be closed. When a last
aborted timer is re-energized, the delay timing will restart afresh using the SV of the timer
and not continue from the last aborted timing operation.

(v) Counter Relay

A counter is also a special kind of relay that has a programmable Set Value (SV). When a
counter coil is energized for the first time after a reset, it will load the value of SV-1 into its
count register. From there on, every time the counter coil is energized from OFF to ON, the
counter decrements its count register value by 1. Note that the coil must go through OFF to
ON cycle in order to decrement the counter. If the coil remains energized all the time, the
counter will not decrement. Hence counter is suitable for counting the number of cycles an

PCI SEM 1 - 2017/2018

operation has gone through. When the count register hits zero, all the counter's N.O. contacts
will be turned ON. These counter contacts will remain ON regardless of whether the
counter's coil is energized or not. To turn OFF these contacts, you have to reset the counter
using a special counter reset function [RSctr].

Advantages using PLC are here are six major advantages of using PLCs over relay systems
as follows:

i. Flexibility
ii. Ease of troubleshooting
iii. Space efficiency
iv. Low cost
v. Testing
vi. Visual operation

Flexibility: One single PLC can easily run many machines. Ease of Troubleshooting: Back
before PLCs, wired relay-type panels required time for rewiring of panels and devices. With
PLC control any change in circuit design or sequence is as simple as retyping the logic.
Correcting errors in PLC is both fast and cost effective. Space Efficient: Fewer components
are required in a PLC system than in a conventional hardware system. The PLC performs
the functions of timers, counters, sequencers, and control relays, so these hardware devices
are not required. The only field devices that are required are those that directly interface with
the system such as switches and motor starters. Low Cost: Prices of PLCs vary from few
hundreds to few thousands. This is minimal compared to the prices of the contact, coils, and
timers that companies pay to match the same things. Using PLCs also saves on installation
cost and shipping. Testing: A PLC program can be tested, evaluated, and validated in a lab
prior to implementation in the field. Visual observation: When running a PLC program a
visual operation displays on a screen or module mounted status lamps assist in making
troubleshooting a circuit quick, easy, and relatively simple.