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PLC, drive and motion-based functionality and architecture
There are several architectural strategies that can be considered for web handling drive system controls. Current industrial control platforms permit the web handling controls to be implemented in either a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) (typically the same as the machine control), directly in the drive system, or through a motion controller.
PLC-based web control has long been a traditional choice for machine builders for a number of reasons. The PLC provides a single platform for both automation and drive control with a centralized control structure. PLC-based systems offer a suitable level of usability, however, they can be limited in high-end performance capability and in their options for process-level programming.
Drive-based control typically offers distributed control architecture, peer-to-peer networks and an increased level of performance due to faster processing times. Graphical engineering tools are common for drive-based systems and are a preferred programming environment due to their ability to visualize and document the web control processes.
Motion controllers offer the highest level of performance and functional flexibility. Their inherent capability of providing position data can help increase web handling performance on several fronts. Motion controllers also permit the line integration of axis motion functionality such as positioning, electronic gearing and cam functionality in the common web controller. They are not limited by memory constraints and typically utilize the full range of programming languages.
This paper will review the merits of these three control architecture options in detail under the criteria of usability, functionality and performance, and also touch on the related topics of drive safety and remote diagnostics.
Overview / criteria
Usability defines the control system’s ease of use in the areas of engineering, commissioning, and maintenance. The following points apply to each of the control system options, PLC,
drive-based and motion control.
A common engineering tool utilizing a common database for machine and drive control is
recommended. Individual engineering tools for each controller (PLC, drives, etc.) should be
avoided. The engineering and programming connection to the system should be though a
single point with efficient routing to each drive or controller location in the system.
Additionally multi-user editing is an important feature for complex and large projects.
The programming language used for the web control should be considered for usability. The
programming language should be sufficient for implementing the critical tasks, easy-to-use
and understand. We find that the ideal programming language for the web control or drive
processes to be graphical function chart. Web handling control is a process and a graphical
programming editor offers the most efficient method to develop, visualize, support the
process and produce the system documentation.
The engineering platform should offer efficient and common diagnostic and troubleshooting
tools that include integrated online monitoring capability, time and frequency-based trace tools
and a drive axis commissioning control panel.
Control and drive hardware platforms that store programs on removable media are ideal.
The Compact Flash cards permit the easy swapping of hardware without the requirement
of program or parameter file downloading and retain current machine settings.
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Siemens Industry Sector is the world’s leading supplier of innovative and environmentally friendly products, solutions and services for industrial customers. With end-to-end automation technology and industrial software, solid vertical-market expertise, and technology-based services, the sector enhances its customers’ productivity, efficiency and flexibility. With a global workforce of more than 100,000 employees, the Industry Sector comprises the Industry Automation, Drive Technologies and Customer Services Divisions as well as the Metals Technologies Business Unit. For more information, visit http://www.usa.siemens.com/industry.
The Siemens Drive Technologies Division is the world’s leading supplier of products, systems, applications, solutions and services for the entire drive train, with electrical and mechanical components. Drive Technologies serves all vertical markets in the production and process industries as well as the infrastructure/energy segment. With its products and solutions, the division enables its customers to achieve productivity, energy efficiency and reliability. For more information, visit http://www.usa.siemens.com/drivetechnologies.Continue reading