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Programmable Logic Controllers: Essential and Affordable

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Instrumentation Technical Session II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.989.1 - 23.989.11



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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 Logic Controllers: Essential and AffordableThe importance of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) component in Engineeringcurriculums is essential. The cost associated with developing or upgrading this area canrange from modest to the extremely expensive. This presentation will provideparticipants with a strategic approach to creating a very workable PLC lab on a less thangenerous 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 forEngineers; PLCs represent one of the fasted growing segments of the industrialelectronics industry and have proven to be the solution for a variety of manufacturingapplications which previously relied on electromechanical control systems; PLCs, unlikea general-purpose computer, are environmentally hardened to survive on a manufacturingplant floor; and PLCs are easily programmed with a graphical ladder logic and are easilyinterfaced with hydraulic, pneumatic, and electronic power systemsIt is critical that the Engineering 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. (2013, June), Programmable Logic Controllers: Essential and Affordable Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22374

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