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#1 JesseMcNeely  Icon User is offline

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PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 23 July 2017 - 07:58 PM

So i program PLC & DCS Systems in ladder, function block, and sequential function chart languages, these are devices that interface to real world items like valves and motors to control them. I just want to pick the brains of PC programmers to see how you would handle a particular issue in a computer programming language, just curious more than anything if you're not interested don't reply my feelings won't be hurt. I'm not even sure if this would be the right forum.

Here are the cases: Programming sequential start and stops of conveyor systems with selectable source and destination. (Airport baggage conveyors, grain system conveyors, etc.) This is pretty simple with ladder and sequential function chart... Until you run into very large systems. Say you have a grain or material handling system that has 20 holding bins, a few material receiving stations, and a few material loadout stations. I will attach a basic picture as an example. The idea is to program sequences that allow you to move material from and 1 station to any other 1 station. When you have say 25 stations that's a lot of possibilities!! So ladder logic and sequential function chart start to become very messing looking. Also keep in mind that one conveyor could have gates/valves attached to it to allow it to receive and direct to multiple stations, also whenever we program these they're never the same from one system to another they always vary quite a bit. I've always wandered if a computer programmer would have a clean solution to it. Say like setting up a system where you could select a path and click on the items in order to start and stop and have the program memorize it and if so what coding methods would you use?? Anyways just always been curious feel free to disregard if this doesn't spark an interest i realize PLCs and computer programming are two different worlds.

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Replies To: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

#2 JesseMcNeely  Icon User is offline

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Re: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:19 PM

Not allowing me to upload an image right now.... Type "Grain System HMI" into google and you can see lol

This post has been edited by JesseMcNeely: 23 July 2017 - 08:22 PM

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#3 jimblumberg  Icon User is offline

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Re: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:25 PM

It's been a long time since I looked into PLC systems but aren't there GUI systems to interface with PLC systems to make controlling the system easier? Perhaps something like Labview PLC? These GUI systems may not simplify the basic latter logic design they should make the final control system easier to use.

Jim
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#4 JesseMcNeely  Icon User is offline

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Re: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:39 PM

The GUI is just sends the PLC information like start sequence command, stop sequence command, reads the data from the PLC etc. The main logic is done in the PLC. I already have my programming methods in the PLC they can just become large and messy on some systems and its not like i can use computer programming in a PLC but thought it could always be useful hearing how someone in a different language would go about solving the tasks. never hurts to hear different ideas and maybe be able to apply them in a PLC to make things cleaner. Though i doubt it haha PLC code is a lot more basic with very few instructions/methods.

This post has been edited by JesseMcNeely: 23 July 2017 - 08:39 PM

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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:26 PM

I would figure black box each step and make it into a state diagram at the high level. know what is needed for input/transition to a new state.
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#6 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: PLC Programmer who wants to pick the brains of computer programmers

Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:10 AM

The closest I've ever come is in coding ride-photo systems for amusement parks and guest interaction for fun houses. Every haunted house is different. But the basics sound lot they have a lot of similarities: sensors tell where guests are (product in your case), they open/close switches that control everything from lights and sounds effects to stepper motors, air valves and so on. Like modi123_1 said its basic 'black box' coding with rules/scripts at various points. The computer doesn't know if those switches and valves move grain, start conveyors etc., or open gates to let people into rooms, drop spiders on their heads and so on.

Long ago I did it as a system of drag-n-drop modules on a work surface. Every module implemented interfaces that allowed them to accept drawn connections for input/output. Effectively you would draw out the flow chart of what you wanted to happen - and you were done programming the system. That was in C# under WinForms. Today I'd probably do it in WPF. Each module was a sensor or controller. The nice thing about systems on that level is that you can genericize the devices. 'Half' for one device is 12v but 5v for another. The code for the module normalize that and raises events saying "10%".... "25%" and so on.

In the end it was just a fancy way to wire up in, out and flow logic.
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