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May 7-9, 2015
Bucharest, Romania

PLC Controlled Elevator Drive System

Pierre Bernard1, Ioan-Dragoú Deaconu2, Member IEEE, Sergiu Valentin Popescu2, Constantin GhiĠă2, Anca-Simona Deaconu2,
Aurel-IonuĠ Chirilă2, Member IEEE
University of Lille, France
Universitatea Politehnica din Bucureúti, Romania,,,,,

Abstract- This paper presents a control method for an advanced to be performed. A secondary purpose of the memory is to
electrical drive system for transportation, namely an elevator. store the current values received form the field sensors.
For cost efficiency the control is performed with the simplest
appropriate PLC. Thus, the software code was wisely developed The processor on one hand manages the memory and the
to be fast and small size. Starting from an educational platform, input/output interfaces and on the other hand processes the
which models a two floor elevator using a DC electrical drive, written program instructions.
different sensors types and a PLC, the development of the actual
driving sequences and PLC program, written using ladder
diagram language, is detailed. In order to account for various
normal operation and malfunctioning scenarios, some testing
techniques are presented as well as their implemented into the
PLC’s program. Thereby, the paper has also an instructive
aspect for engineers working in the automation field.
Keywords: PLC, automation, elevator drive

I. INTRODUCTION– PLCS Fig. 1. Internal structure of a PLC [9].

Both input and output interfaces have more channels. The
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) appeared in the
number of channels is usually 8 to 32 channels, digital and/or
US around 1969. They were originally intended to automate
analog type. Thus, the designer may connect various sensors
assembly lines [1]. It is considered like a particular type of
and actuation modules.
computer, having the task to command industrial machines or
As supplying voltages PLCs usually admit 12VDC,
other automated applications such as: keep a water level,
24VDC or 230VAC. In case of DC voltage supplied PLCs,
control a reactor or a traffic light system [2]-[5], manage a
some of them are also able to deliver 12VDC/24VDC, thanks
manufacturing cell transport system [6]-[8], or command
to an AC/DC converter [10].
elevators (this is the example that it is developed).
The PLC is part of the automation and its job is to control B. Programming Language for PLCs
the required processes. More exactly, the PLC provides All PLCs manufacturers use the same programming
commands to various actuation modules of the automation languages. These are described in standard IEC 61131-3
system in order to execute a precise job such as opening or where are five programming languages defined:
closing a valve. Such a task is not possible without sensors, SFC: Sequential Functional Chart. This high-level
for the given example position sensors. The sensors provide language is used to program a sequential task easily by using
the feedback information for the PLC. These are required in blocks in a chronological order with conditions; FBD:
order for the PLC to be able to “know” what the status of the Functional Block Diagram. This language is used to program
valve is, thus providing the correct commands such as: graphically by using blocks, object variables, operators and
continue to open/close the valve or remain as it is. functions. It can handle all types of variables; LD: Ladder.
This language is used to program graphically Boolean
A. PLC's structure
equations (True or False); ST: Structured Text. This high
A PLC is composed of several modules, as shown in Fig. 1.
level textual language is used to program all types of
The main components are: the memory, the processor, the
algorithms that are more or less complex; IL: Instructions
input/output interfaces and the power supply, in the case of
List. This low-level textual language is a one statement per
internal power supply unit, or power supply terminals for
line language, it can be compared to the assembly language;
external power supply unit case. All the components are
In order to program, the automation specialist may use a
linked by a bus that allows the passage of information.
programming console or a computer (which is easier)
The main purpose of the memory is to store the automation
communicating with the automation via an RS232 or RS485
system designer’s program. This is a list of instructions that
serial link [11], [12]. Some PLCs also support Ethernet
describe the operation of the application, or in other words it
contains the links between the events that may occur during
the operation of the automated system and the tasks that have

978-1-4799-7514-3/15/$31.00 ©2015 IEEE 166

C. Designing a Sequential Automation Using PLCs The Logical Chart translates the operation of automated
For a given process, it is required to perform in a specific system under every possible case. The PLCs’ program is
order some steps. developed in correspondence with this Chart.
The first step is to develop a flowchart for the whole The implementation is performed using an EATON 512-
process. It has to take into consideration industrial constraints DCRC PLC brand and model respectively. The program is
(safety, profitability), the types of sensors and actuators that developed using EASY-SOFT Pro programming
will be used, what they are accepting and what they are environment. The significance of inputs and outputs is the
sending back, the number and type of inputs/outputs and the following (Ixx - input, Qxx - output):
PLCs’ memory. I01 - cabin call request towards the ground floor; I02 -
The second step is to develop a first level SFC. It signifies cabin call request towards the first floor; I04 - cabin call
the diagram of the actions that the PLC has to perform based request towards the second (last) floor; I05 - cabin level
on the gathered information. detection sensor (ground floor); I06 - cabin level detection
The third step represents the operational and technological sensor (first floor); I07 - cabin level detection sensor (second
analysis. This part takes into account the constraints due to floor); Q01 - motor control signal (go up); Q02 - motor
sensors, actuators and operating modes. This step represents control signal (go down); Q03 - cabin going down action
the second level SFC, that is, the full automation. Sometimes, signaling lamp; Q04 - cabin going up action signaling lamp.
it is required to go back to first or second steps when issues It is mandatory to disable every signal coming from the
may arise. calling push buttons when the motor operates. Thus, within
The fourth step represents the selection of the control type the developed program, a logic memory cell has been used.
technology and the PLCs devices (brand and model). These memory cells (Nxx) are controlled by the calling push
The fifth and final step represents the physical development buttons and motor action as it is show in Fig. 2. When a
of the automation system. Firstly it is required to develop a calling button is pressed and the motor operates then the
block diagram of the entire system along with a circuit memory cell will still be false.
diagram (the wiring part). In the following the going up and going down actions are
II. ELEVATOR ELECTRICAL DRIVE SYSTEM described. We have three possible cases for each action type
as shown in Table I. The implementation of these actions is
Within this section it is described a study case of an also based on memory cells in order to transfer the
automated elevator system based on PLC. Firstly, a Logical information from one column to another one, due to PLC
Chart of the entire system has to be developed. It is desired to programming limitations.
design an educational platform of a two storey building
elevator. This platform has as prime mover a DC electrical
drive. The system state is known using various sensors, while
the control part is performed with a PLC.
The system has as inputs three push buttons performing the
cabin calling action request, one on each floor, and three reed
relay sensors performing the cabin position detection. It has
as outputs lights on each floor, signaling the cabin moving
direction (upwards or downwards), and control signals for the
DC motor control module, i.e. rotational direction. In
conclusion the PLC has to manage six inputs and four
outputs. Fig. 2. Push-buttons requests are disabled when motor operates.
The automation system does not have calling requests For the going up action (see Fig. 3), when the first floor is
memory. Thus, if the user presses more than one calling push requested, the memory M03 is used in order to keep the up
buttons, only the first pushing is considered. After the cabin action active even when the user has released the first floor
has reached the final destination only a new calling request is push button. Contact N06 represents the first floor push
considered. However the system is able to detect a null button. Sensor I07 detects the cabin presence at ground level,
calling request, i.e. the cabin is already at the calling floor. In while sensor I06 detects the cabin presence at first floor. As
Table I are described various possible scenarios. soon as sensor I06 activates the driving motor stops because
TABLE I output Q01 is deactivated. In Fig.3 is also shown the
THE ELEVATOR’S BEHAVIOUR UNDER VARIOUS SCENARIOS algorithm for the second floor request. In this case N07 is
Call Ground First Second similar to N06 and M04 to M03. The M12 memory cell
Position Floor Floor Floor
introduces a safety procedure. It is controlled by a timer. In
Ground Floor ž ž case the first floor sensor is not operational then the system
First Floor   ž waits for a given amount of time and then it triggers the
Second (last) Floor     stopping of the driving DC motor. When the cabin arrives at
second floor the I07 normally closed contact opens. Thus, the

Q01 output is deactivated and the driving motor stops. The is shown in Fig. 5 in the last two columns where the coil
timers T05 and T06 have the same purpose but they account M07-R (reset) is activated.
for the ground and second floor sensors. Later, a more
detailed explanation of these safety procedures using timing
is described. The normally closed contact Q02 inhibits the
control signals for the DC motor such that to simultaneously
operate in both directions. In fact this would short-circuit the
DC motor power supply.

Fig. 5. The second floor managing procedure..

A similar procedure is implemented for the first floor, as it
is depicted in Fig. 6. When the first floor push button is
pressed then the normally open contacts N06 set two memory
cells M06 and M10. The M06 memory cell is similar to M07
from the second floor procedure. The M10 memory cell keeps
Fig. 3. Cabin going up action procedure. active a timer that will activate the stopping of the driving DC
For the going down action (depicted in Fig. 4) the motor if floor sensors do not operate. The normally open
configuration is similar to the going up part, but different contacts N05 and N07, representing the ground and the
memory cells are used. In Fig.4 there are also presented the second floor push buttons respectively, reset the two previous
lamps control that signal the moving direction (Q03, Q04). memory cells in order for the elevator to operate correctly
even when the first floor sensor is damaged.

Fig. 4. Cabin going down action procedure.

In order to manage the ground and the second floor the Fig. 6. The first floor managing procedure.
following sequence is developed (see Fig. 5). In the following various malfunctioning scenarios are
By a single push of the second floor button, the normally presented. For the ground level and the last floor the
open contact (N07) closes and the (M07) memory cell sets procedures are similar. Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 show the safety
and remains set. Thus the operator may quick release the modes for the first floor and the second floor respectively.
button. The M04 memory cell sets the DC motor in running Based on the experiments it can be concluded that the
up mode because it activates the output Q1. When the cabin driving DC motor must operate about 16 seconds in order for
arrives at the second floor then the M07 memory cell is reset. the cabin to go from one floor to the next one. In
This operation also resets the M04 memory cell and thus the consequence, it is appropriate to consider that after 19
driving DC motor is stopped. This is not shown in Fig. 5. seconds of continuous operation the elevator has an issue and
After the cabin has arrived at second floor but the floor sensor some safety measures have to be taken. Thus, as shown in
is not operational then the DC motor is stopped by other Fig. 6, the M06 and M10 normally opened contacts are closed
means as it has been explained. This program section is not when the system receives a first floor call. They are two
shown for the second floor in Fig. 5. In consequence the M07 because there are two possible actions upwards or
memory cell remains set which is not correct. To overcome downwards, depending on the cabin initial level. The timer
this situation when the operator presses the first floor or the starts counting when the driving DC motor begins to operate.
ground push buttons, this memory cell (M07) is reset using When the timer T02 reaches at 19 seconds then it activates
the normally opened contacts N06 and N05 respectively. This memory cells M12 and M13, one for each possible motor
action. Once they are activated they will trigger the stopping
of both the DC motor and the time counter. If the first floor

sensor (I06) operates correctly before the 19 seconds then it malfunctions may occur. This smart operation is possible due
will reset the timer (coil T02-R – reset) and the safety the implemented safety procedures that continuously monitor
measure is not applied. the system’s state. One feature to be implemented is the DC
An adapted approach of the safety procedure is applied motor inrush starting current that should be controlled.
when the operator calls the second floor and the cabin is at This solution is a basic one, once one wants to use it to
ground level, or the operator calls the ground level and the manage an elevator, some other considerations have to be
cabin is at the second floor. These two cases are similar, just taken into account such as lowering the starting current,
the motor action is different. In these cases the period time is which is high in our case (it delivers a high starting torque),
doubled, namely about 38 seconds. In Fig. 7 this behaviour is driving the elevator suddenly. In such situations different
fulfilled by the timers T03 (19 seconds) and T04 (38.5 regulators have to be implemented and tuned.
seconds). Depending on the initial cabin position, when the
operator requests the second floor (N07), the contacts M14
(first floor) or M15 (ground level) are closing. Thus T04 is The work of Aurel-IonuĠ CHIRILĂ was supported/funded
for ground level and T03 for first floor as initial cabin by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources
position. The motor is stopped if the timers T04 and T03 are Development 2007-2013 of the Ministry of European Funds
not reset before their counting time by activating the Q01-R – through the Financial Agreement POSDRU/159/1.5/S/138963
reset coil, which deactivates the Q1 output. (PERFORM) while the work of Anca-Simona DEACONU
was supported/funded by the Sectoral Operational
Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013 of
the Ministry of European Funds through the Financial
Agreement POSDRU/159/1.5/S/134398 (KNOWLEDGE).
The authors would also like to thank the support given by
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