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Student Design Projects In A Programmable Logic Controller (Plc) Course

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Developing New Instrumentation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1106.1 - 13.1106.10



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Paper Authors

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Liping Guo Northern Illinois University

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Recayi 'Reg' Pecen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Design Projects in a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Course in Electrical Engineering Technology Abstract

A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a specialized computer used for the control and operation of manufacturing process and machinery. A junior/senior level PLC course in a four-year electrical engineering technology institution mainly covers the following topics: PLC hardware components, developing fundamental PLC wiring diagrams, basics of PLC programming, timers, counters, program control instructions, data manipulation instructions, math instructions, sequencer and shift register instructions, PLC installation, editing and troubleshooting. After the lectures, students practice PLC programming using RSLogix® from Rockwell Automation. Students are able to observe the operation of the program and make necessary modifications as necessary. Towards the end of the semester, students have learned the basic PLC programming instructions. It is a good time to enhance their practical problem solving abilities by working on an extensive design project using PLCs. This paper discusses three separate design projects aided with PLCs to solve practical process and machinery problems in industrial environments.


A programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a specialized computer used for the control and operation of manufacturing process and machinery1. It uses a programmable memory to store instructions and execute functions including on/off control, timing, counting, sequencing, arithmetic, and data handling 2.

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) are used in almost every aspect of industry to expand and enhance production. Where older automated systems would use hundreds or thousands of electromechanical relays, a single PLC can be programmed as an efficient replacement3-5. The functionality of the PLC has evolved over the years to include capabilities beyond typical relay control. Sophisticated motion control, process control, distributive control systems, and complex networking have now been added to the PLC’s functions. Therefore, PLCs provide many advantages over conventional relay type of control, including increased reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and communication capability, faster response time and easier to troubleshoot 6.

PLC Course Description

The PLC course is a junior/senior level course in a four-year electrical engineering technology institution. The main objectives of the course are:

• Identify and explain the purpose of the parts of a programmable logic controller • Use basic PLC relay instructions to write, debug and troubleshoot ladder logic programs • Develop and demonstrate programs showing how the timer and counter functions are integrated to a PLC

Guo, L., & Pecen, R. R. (2008, June), Student Design Projects In A Programmable Logic Controller (Plc) Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4351

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