June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.77.1 - 26.77.8
A Novel Architecture for Electromechanical Trainers Allowing Selectable Control by Either Microcontroller or PLCEmbedded microcontroller systems and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are usedextensively in industry and thus are a cornerstone in engineering education. In engineeringdepartments, the target training hardware interfacing to these two types of devices is oftenduplicated in two different labs. This repetition of plant hardware can become expensive andspace consuming with separate setups required for each controller.This paper introduces a novel instrumentation and control system training platform based aroundthe use of both an embedded controller and a PLC wired to the same electromechanical plant. Asupervisory controller electronically enables one of the controllers to interface to peripheraldevices and sensors. This allows an instructor to set up a trainer to be used in either a PLC classor an embedded systems class with the flick of a virtual switch. The setup could be used tocontrol virtually any electromechanical system in an educational environment such as a smallscale elevator simulator or a Cartesian robot for pick and place operation. In the prototype setup,an Allen Bradley PLC and a National Instruments embedded controller were used to interface toa two-car three-floor elevator system containing 8 actuators, 22 sensors, 14 switch inputs and 14indicators. All components of the system are networked, so that both the supervisory and studentcontrols can be used remotely, supporting both 24/7 access to experiments and distanceeducation students.Since the PLC and microcontroller are user operated using different programming languages, thesetup provides a level of versatility through the capability to interact with two separatetechnologies on one independent system with no physical configuration changes necessary. Thisleads to lower costs by limiting the amount of hardware required while also saving space andallowing the potential for a greater diversity of training setups to be utilized in a smaller area.
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015