June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.79.1 - 13.79.11
A PLC Project in a Control Course Laboratory
This paper describes the design, development, and implementation of an automated labeling process in an undergraduate control course laboratory. This effort provided students with valuable hands–on experience in computer assisted control system. The objective of this project is to design an automated labeling system that would label products on a conveyor belt and counts the total number of parts coming off the conveyor belt for final packaging.
The system consisted of several mechanical, electrical, and pneumatic components that were integrated into a control system: a conveyor, a labeling machine, a double solenoid valve, a pneumatic actuator, a programmable logic controller (PLC), a photoelectric sensor, and relays. The photoelectric sensor, conveyor, relays, and double solenoid valve were connected to the PLC. The PLC was programmed to communicate with these components and control the entire process. All of the components were integrated to perform a task of automated labeling process.
The automated labeling process began with loading parts onto the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt transported parts to the labeling station that was equipped with photoelectric sensor, actuator, and labeling machine. When the part arrived on the station, the photoelectric sensor detected the part and sent a signal to the PLC to stop the conveyor. The time delay at this station allowed the labeling machine to label the part. After the part was labeled, the pneumatic actuator extended and pushed the part into the storage area for packaging process. The actuator retracted before the conveyor motor restarted to carry another part to the labeling station. This is a repetitive process in which, after storing a part, the system will reset itself to label and store other part.
The design of the system involved programming of individual components through extensive circuit wiring, testing, verification and modification. Applying this system required the links and integrations of components that challenged and stimulated the students.
I. Introduction and Background
The PLC and sensors are widely used in industry to control manufacturing process, to increase reliability and flexibility, reduce cost, and increase maintainability. Today, due to competition among manufacturers and suppliers, industries are looking for ways to reduce man-power as well as the cost of operation, and expediting the entire process. There are many companies that utilizing PLC and sensors for automation cell, distribution system, and warehouses. References1-4 provide some applications of PLC and sensors in dredging, GPS, research laboratories, pharmaceutical and other sector of industries.
As the use of automation increases in the manufacturing industry, as well as the distribution and shipment industry, understanding this technology is critical for technology and engineering technology students who want to be prepared for their first job. The objective of this project was to introduce students to the PLC and sensors in the context of a control system. This introduction
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