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A Novel Approach To Simulating Factory Control System Problems Through A Pc And Four Microcontrollers

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Simulation and Virtual Instrumentation in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.89.1 - 11.89.12



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Paper Authors


Daniel Dangelo Intel Corp.

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Daniel Dangelo is a Test R & D Engineer at Intel Corporation in Chandler Arizona. He manages the CPU Low Cost Burn In Equipment New Product Extensions Development Working Group and provides electrical design and validation support. Dan has worked at four other technology companies during his greater than nineteen years in the industry. Dan has four patents pending and published five papers.

Dan received his Master of Science in Technology and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University and Associate of Electronics Technology from A.T.E.S. Technical Institute.

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Rajeswari Sundararajan Arizona State University

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Raji Sundararajan is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology at Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ. Her teaching interests include instrumentation, power electronics and control systems. Her clinical and research interests are, electrical pulse-mediated drug/gene delivery for cancer and various other diseases, characterization of biological tissues, the long term aging and degradation study of high voltage polymer insulators.

Dr. Sundararajan received her PhD in Electrical Engineering (Power/High Voltage) from the Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Before that Dr. Sundararajan served as an engineer/scientist at the Dept. of Space, Bangalore, India. She is a Member of ASEE and a Senior Member of IEEE.

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Narciso Macia Arizona State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Novel Approach to Simulating Factory Control System Problems through a PC and Four Microcontrollers


Real-World Factory equipment often incorporates various types of communication, interface and control features to provide reliable equipment performance and meet demanding production requirements. This paper discusses a novel simulation project developed to address such common problems as they may be encountered by factory equipment control systems. The reader will gain insight about typical problems and solutions.

The module was written in Visual Basic (VB); provides a PC-Based, control and monitoring, Graphical User Interface (GUI); and interfaces to four industrial microcontrollers. Each of these controllers is from a separate manufacturer and programmed with a different software language, including BASIC-52, assembly, ladder and C. RS-232 protocol serially communicates with the VB program through four serial ports that are provided by a PC-Based RocketPort system. Bi- directional serial communication with both binary and ASCII data was developed to study, document and compare methodologies. The GUI was designed to monitor and control factory simulation activities, inputs and outputs (I/O) and alarm functions via microcontroller serial communications.

The factory simulation layout is comprised of a variety of components to focus on diverse design and assembly challenges. These include a controllable motor driven propeller with rotation tracking capability, a closed-loop self-balancing pendulum, a hand-held pendant, temperature and light sensors with controllable sources, a light tree, motorized cam-controlled switches and a mechanical counter. The GUI enabled excellent serial communication with the four microcontrollers to provide factory simulation control and monitoring. The Microsoft VB MSComm drivers and the RocketPort system provided simultaneous and robust bi-directional serial communications. Both binary and ASCII data communications proved to be effective methods by providing fast and accurate control, alarming and monitoring.


Production factories are continuously challenged with providing a large variety of cost competitive products with short manufacturing durations. Fast, flexible and reliable electrical and electronic communication, interface and control systems are crucial for factory processes to run efficiently, provide manufacturing flexibility and deliver a wide range of products. Generally a manufacturing process is an equipment collection developed by various manufacturers and operated with various controller types. A modern flexible manufacturing area requires equipment integration into one seamless system. This is challenging due to combinations of computers, microcontrollers, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s) or other controller types. The controllers are programmed and wired to control or monitor sensors, actuators, switches, indicators, alarms and similar devices to provide required system functionality2.

Dangelo, D., & Sundararajan, R., & Macia, N. (2006, June), A Novel Approach To Simulating Factory Control System Problems Through A Pc And Four Microcontrollers Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--307

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