The concept of Programmable Logic Controllers or PLC is implemented in various manufacturing industries. The reason being, it aids in the automation of processes and tasks that could be tedious to man. Manual work has been greatly reduced in terms of difficulty in controlling heavier systems and machinery. There are a lot of ideas on making use of PLC’s in our projects based on the intended trends in the market. Before we get there, we need to learn the very basics of this concept.
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PLC’s comprises of 4 major elements: input modules, CPU, a programmable device and output modules.
Input modules usually respond to digital inputs, but in some cases, they respond to analog. The input devices depend on the type of input that is being given, so it varies accordingly. CPUs behave as evaluators of a signal being sent to it. They receive input signals into a value or signal that is understandable and those signals are sent to output modules. Now, these output modules convert their resultant signal into a digital or analog form and thus controls its output device.
Now with PLCs in use, we can replace most of our wired systems. For instance, you want to change the process of your system. Conventional methods would be changing the wiring of your system. But now with a PLC, you can easily modify its structure by making changes in the code for your device. This is a major plus point that hit the roof in our automation industries.
PLC's offer a broad range of applications that have contributed to the evolution in the industry. The spotlight for PLC's lie in our civil requirements. These include our washing machines, elevators, traffic control signaling, distilleries and so on. In product manufacturing, they are also used in food, cement, and other large scale industries.
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There are a ton of projects that can be built using the concept of PLC's which will help us study in detail. Hands-on experience of this concept will give a clearer idea about how PLC's work.
1. Filling system based on PLC
This PLC mini-project will include components like DC pump, a proximity sensor, a conveyer belt connected to a DC motor, and of course, a PLC. You will also require a software known as DELTA (an ISPSOFT version) installed in your pc so that you can construct ladder diagrams for your PLC device. To give a brief description of what this project seems like, let’s first look into how our components function as a combined system:
Proximity sensors are used to detect the presence of any object placed on the conveyer belt.
These sensors then send signals to our PLC’s as a form of input. Based on the input, the PLC can act as a regulator for movement and temperature, and can even send alarms if there is any malfunctioning of the system.
The PLC’s receive instructions via the control room which consists of a program called the ladder diagram, which is given as input.
A Relay will be used in the process which helps in handling or controlling loads in the system and electrically operating it.
Finally, our DC motors will come into use which converts all the electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Keeping all of this in mind, our basic process of the filling system involves the motion of conveyor belts where any metal tin placed over it is detected by the proximity sensors. After crossing a particular distance, the conveyor belt stops rotating when the sensor again detects the tin and the filling process begins. A particular timer will be set by the programmer to fill water or any desired liquid into the container. Once the container is filled, the next operation takes place.
2. Automatic Door implementation using PLC
For this interesting project, you will need:
Knowing the basic functioning of these components in our project, it is pretty clear that this project works on controlling or automating a door as per the need of the user. All we need to do is to design our door using plywood. We then place the IR sensors, Servo motor and the Limit switch on the door, keeping in mind about its design. Before placing them, make sure these sensors and switches are accurately calibrated.
3. Motor speed control by interfacing of a proximity sensor
As the project name suggests, here’s what you need:
The working of the project is simple. When the proximity sensor detects the rpm of a running motor, it sends information to the PLC. Based on the value or input given to the PLC, the voltage at which the motor is running is altered and you can hereby control the speed of the DC motor by giving the necessary amount of voltage.
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Apart from these mini-projects, you can also refer to:
PLC’s are very flexible in the automation and control industries. Their extremely vast range of applications is a major benefaction to ease manual tasks, especially those with heavy burdens. It requires a keen interest in this field since codes and circuits are not everyone’s cup of tea. But once you master the fundamentals, it is very convenient to work on a ton of projects using the concept of Programmable Logic Controllers.
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