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Conveyor Control System Project

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Great Ideas for Projects that Teach Instrumentation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.383.1 - 22.383.15



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Paper Authors


David R. Loker Pennsylvania State University, Erie

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David R. Loker received the M.S.E.E. degree from Syracuse University in 1986. In 1984, he joined General Electric (GE) Company, AESD, as a design engineer. In 1988, he joined the faculty at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. In 2007, he became the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Program. His research interests include wireless sensor networks, data acquisition systems, and communications systems.

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Robert Weissbach Pennsylvania State University, Erie Orcid 16x16

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Robert Weissbach is currently an associate professor of engineering and incoming director of the Applied Energy Research Center at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Prior to completing his doctoral studies, he was employed by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division where he worked on the design and construction of submarine turbine generator sets. From October 2007 through June 2008, he was a visiting researcher at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark. Dr. Weissbach is a Senior Member of IEEE and is a registered engineer in Pennsylvania. His research interests are in renewable energy, energy storage, power electronics and power systems.

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Adam Henry Pennsylvania State University

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Adam Henry is currently a senior at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College majoring in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program. His interests are computers and related technology. He also enjoys designing and building electrical devices to use in his daily life.

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Conveyor Control System ProjectPart of the requirements in a junior-level measurements & instrumentation course (for an Electricaland Computer Engineering Technology program) includes an end-of-semester design project. Onepossible project is the design and implementation of a conveyor control system. For this project, theconveyor simulator is pre-fabricated and equipped with a 24-volt DC motor mounted directly to aplastic spindle for driving the conveyor belt, a freely rotating plastic spindle for the opposite side ofthe conveyor belt, and two Plexiglass sides. Three IR reflective sensors (one in the middle and oneat each end) are used to detect the position of an object on the conveyor. The objective of theproject is for students to design the software (using LabVIEW) and hardware interfacing electronicsfor the conveyor control system such that it mimics the operation of a conveyor with beginning,stamping, and ending stations. Students are required to use a National Instruments data acquisitionsystem with analog I/O and digital I/O capability. This paper provides a detailed listing of theengineering requirements for the system and the functional test procedure for verifying properoperation of the system. An example of student work is provided, along with a project assessment.Recommendations are included to help ensure student success on the project. In addition, since thisconveyor control system is also designed by students in a sophomore-level PLC course, a studentassessment based on the comparison of the advantages and disadvantages for the PC vs. PLCcontrol is provided. The PC-based control system project has been found to be an effective end-of-semester project for two reasons. First, it integrates both hardware and software design whileutilizing information covered from prerequisite courses. Second, due to the slow responsecharacteristics of this system, PC-based control is suitable for this application.

Loker, D. R., & Weissbach, R., & Henry, A. (2011, June), Conveyor Control System Project Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17664

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