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Integrating PLCs with Robot Motion Control in Engineering Capstone Courses

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ECE Division Technical Session 2: Long-Term Institutional Outcome Evaluations and Capstone Innovations

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Sanjeevi Chitikeshi

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Shirshak Dhali Old Dominion University


Vukica Jovanovic Old Dominion University

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She is a Chair, Batten Endowed Professor, and Associate Professor of Engineering Technology. She holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering Technology, focus on Digital Manufacturing.

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Robotic motion control methods and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are critical in engineering automation and process control applications. In most manufacturing and automation processes, robots are used for moving parts and are controlled by industrial PLCs. Proper integration of external I/O devices, sensors and actuating motors with PLC input and output cards is very important to run the process smoothly without any faults and/or safety concerns. Most traditional electrical and computer engineering (ECE) programs offer high level of motion theory and controls but little hands-on exposure to PLCs which are the main industrial controllers. This paper provides a framework for a hands-on project to integrate PLCs in robot arm motion control, troubleshooting, and testing the realsensors and motors with PLC experiments which complements the virtual calculations and theory. This PLC with Robot Arm Motion control integration concept idea was introduced and tested in a 600-level graduate capstone project class. By the end of the semester long class, the students used their PLC hardware and software skills to wire a robot arm sensing elements and actuating motors to pick and place objects from one location to a bin. The assessment demonstrated that the course learning objectives were met.

Chitikeshi, S., & Dhali, S., & Jovanovic, V. (2022, August), Integrating PLCs with Robot Motion Control in Engineering Capstone Courses Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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