June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Electrical and Computer
Industrial control courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) include programming of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Text books are available to support these courses but few provide any content on Finite State Machines (FSMs). This is unfortunate because a great deal of PLC applications in industry involve sequence logic which lends itself to the FSM.
A FSM consists of a defined (finite) number of states that a system can be in, and well defined rules for how the system moves from one state to the next. The FSM can perform entry chores, exit chores, and state tasks. Inputs and calculations made within the state define the movement from state to state. The action that results from an input may depend on the current state. A PLC is a computer that solves relay logic also referred to as ladder logic. PLCs are typically connected to limit switches and solenoid valves and provide low level control functions. Supervisor computer systems may also direct the action of a PLC.
The course content described in this paper offers the authors industry tested implementation of the FSM for PLC implementation. The FSM connects the PLC input devices to the PLC output devices in a straight forward manner that makes the system easier to understand for engineers and maintenance personnel.
Students learn not just how to program a PLC, but how to create ladder logic that provides a reliable and maintainable PLC solution. PLCs are ubiquitous in industry and students with experience and ability are in high demand.
Cohenour, C. (2017, June), Teaching Finite State Machines (FSMs) as Part of a Programmable Logic Control (PLC) Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28917
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