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Programmable Controllers: An Affordable Necessity

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Robotics and Automation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1078.1 - 25.1078.10



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Paper Authors


John Marshall University of Southern Maine

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John Marshall received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is the Departmental Internship Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. His areas of specialization include power and energy processing, applied process control engineering, automation, fluid power, and facility planning.

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Programmable Controllers: An Affordable NecessityThe importance of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) component in EngineeringTechnology curriculums is essential. The cost associated with developing or upgradingthis area can range from modest to the extremely expensive. This presentation willprovide participants with a strategic approach to creating a very workable PLC lab on aless than generous budget. An actual PLC module will be available for demonstration andinspection.Programmable logic controllers are used in every segment of industry where automationis required. This presentation and demonstration will identify specific components andprogramming software needed to develop a functioning PLC lab. Participants will leavewith a working understanding of these important devices as well as PLC labs withsolutions that can be implemented immediately.Major topics of the presentation will include: PLC familiarization is an essential skill forEngineering Technologist; PLCs represent one of the fasted growing segments of theindustrial electronics industry and have proven to be the solution for a variety ofmanufacturing applications which previously relied on electromechanical controlsystems; PLCs, unlike a general-purpose computer, are environmentally hardened tosurvive on a manufacturing plant floor; and PLCs are easily programmed with a graphicalladder logic and are easily interfaced with hydraulic, pneumatic, and electronic powersystemsIt is critical that the Engineering Technology graduate have a working understanding ofprogrammable logic controllers. PLCs are utilized in every sector of our societyincluding transportation, construction, manufacturing, waste treatment, environmentalcontrols, agriculture, military, and traditional / alternate energy production. Thiscurriculum can be a dedicated process control course or integrated into an existing coursesuch as fluid power, electronic control technology, or industrial automation. Budget isnot the big issue, rather a desire to provide your students with this valuable insight.

Marshall, J. (2012, June), Programmable Controllers: An Affordable Necessity Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21835

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