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A programmable logic controller (PLC) or programmable controller is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control

of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures. PLCs are used in many industries and machines. Unlike general-purpose computers, the PLC is designed for multiple inputs and output arrangements, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. Programs to control machine operation are typically stored in batterybacked-up or non-volatile memory. A PLC is an example of a hard real time system since output results must be produced in response to input conditions within a bounded time, otherwise unintended operation will result.

Contents
[hide]

1 History 2 Development

2.1 Programming

3 Functionality 4 PLC topics


4.1 Features 4.2 Scan time 4.3 System scale 4.4 User interface 4.5 Communications 4.6 Programming

5 PLC compared with other control systems 6 Digital and analog signals

6.1 Example

7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

[edit] History
The PLC was invented in response to the needs of the American automotive manufacturing industry. Programmable logic controllers were initially adopted by the automotive industry where software revision replaced the re-wiring of hard-wired control panels when production models changed. Before the PLC, control, sequencing, and safety interlock logic for manufacturing automobiles was accomplished using hundreds or thousands of relays, cam timers, and drum sequencers and dedicated closed-loop controllers. The process for updating such facilities for the yearly model

change-over was very time consuming and expensive, as electricians needed to individually rewire each and every relay. Digital computers, being general-purpose programmable devices, were soon applied to control of industrial processes. Early computers required specialist programmers, and stringent operating environmental control for temperature, cleanliness, and power quality. Using a general-purpose computer for process control required protecting the computer from the plant floor conditions. An industrial control computer would have several attributes: it would tolerate the shop-floor environment, it would support discrete (bit-form) input and output in an easily extensible manner, it would not require years of training to use, and it would permit its operation to be monitored. The response time of any computer system must be fast enough to be useful for control; the required speed varying according to the nature of the process.[1] In 1968 GM Hydramatic (the automatic transmission division of General Motors) issued a request for proposal for an electronic replacement for hard-wired relay systems. The winning proposal came from Bedford Associates of Bedford, Massachusetts. The first PLC, designated the 084 because it was Bedford Associates' eighty-fourth project, was the result.[2] Bedford Associates started a new company dedicated to developing, manufacturing, selling, and servicing this new product: Modicon, which stood for MOdular DIgital CONtroller. One of the people who worked on that project was Dick Morley, who is considered to be the "father" of the PLC.[3] The Modicon brand was sold in 1977 to Gould Electronics, and later acquired by German Company AEG and then by French Schneider Electric, the current owner. One of the very first 084 models built is now on display at Modicon's headquarters in North Andover, Massachusetts. It was presented to Modicon by GM, when the unit was retired after nearly twenty years of uninterrupted service. Modicon used the 84 moniker at the end of its product range until the 984 made its appearance. The automotive industry is still one of the largest users of PLCs.

[edit] Development
Early PLCs were designed to replace relay logic systems. These PLCs were programmed in "ladder logic", which strongly resembles a schematic diagram of relay logic. This program notation was chosen to reduce training demands for the existing technicians. Other early PLCs used a form of instruction list programming, based on a stack-based logic solver. Modern PLCs can be programmed in a variety of ways, from ladder logic to more traditional programming languages such as BASIC and C. Another method is State Logic, a very high-level programming language designed to program PLCs based on state transition diagrams. Many early PLCs did not have accompanying programming terminals that were capable of graphical representation of the logic, and so the logic was instead represented as a series of logic expressions in some version of Boolean format, similar to Boolean algebra. As programming terminals evolved, it became more common for ladder logic to be used, for the aforementioned reasons and because it was a familiar format used for electromechanical control panels. Newer formats such as State Logic and Function Block (which is similar to the way logic is depicted when using digital integrated logic circuits) exist, but they are still not as popular as ladder logic. A primary reason for this is that PLCs solve the logic in a predictable and repeating sequence, and ladder logic allows the programmer (the person writing the logic) to see any issues with the timing of the logic sequence more easily than would be possible in other formats.

[edit] Programming

Early PLCs, up to the mid-1980s, were programmed using proprietary programming panels or special-purpose programming terminals, which often had dedicated function keys representing the various logical elements of PLC programs.[2] Programs were stored on cassette tape cartridges. Facilities for printing and documentation were very minimal due to lack of memory capacity. The very oldest PLCs used non-volatile magnetic core memory. More recently, PLCs are programmed using application software on personal computers. The computer is connected to the PLC through Ethernet, RS-232, RS-485 or RS-422 cabling. The programming software allows entry and editing of the ladder-style logic. Generally the software provides functions for debugging and troubleshooting the PLC software, for example, by highlighting portions of the logic to show current status during operation or via simulation. The software will upload and download the PLC program, for backup and restoration purposes. In some models of programmable controller, the program is transferred from a personal computer to the PLC through a programming board which writes the program into a removable chip such as an EEPROM or EPROM.

[edit] Functionality
The functionality of the PLC has evolved over the years to include sequential relay control, motion control, process control, distributed control systems and networking. The data handling, storage, processing power and communication capabilities of some modern PLCs are approximately equivalent to desktop computers. PLC-like programming combined with remote I/O hardware, allow a general-purpose desktop computer to overlap some PLCs in certain applications. Regarding the practicality of these desktop computer based logic controllers, it is important to note that they have not been generally accepted in heavy industry because the desktop computers run on less stable operating systems than do PLCs, and because the desktop computer hardware is typically not designed to the same levels of tolerance to temperature, humidity, vibration, and longevity as the processors used in PLCs. In addition to the hardware limitations of desktop based logic, operating systems such as Windows do not lend themselves to deterministic logic execution, with the result that the logic may not always respond to changes in logic state or input status with the extreme consistency in timing as is expected from PLCs. Still, such desktop logic applications find use in less critical situations, such as laboratory automation and use in small facilities where the application is less demanding and critical, because they are generally much less expensive than PLCs. In more recent years, small products called PLRs (programmable logic relays), and also by similar names, have become more common and accepted. These are very much like PLCs, and are used in light industry where only a few points of I/O (i.e. a few signals coming in from the real world and a few going out) are involved, and low cost is desired. These small devices are typically made in a common physical size and shape by several manufacturers, and branded by the makers of larger PLCs to fill out their low end product range. Popular names include PICO Controller, NANO PLC, and other names implying very small controllers. Most of these have between 8 and 12 digital inputs, 4 and 8 digital outputs, and up to 2 analog inputs. Size is usually about 4" wide, 3" high, and 3" deep. Most such devices include a tiny postage stamp sized LCD screen for viewing simplified ladder logic (only a very small portion of the program being visible at a given time) and status of I/O points, and typically these screens are accompanied by a 4-way rocker push-button plus four more separate push-buttons, similar to the key buttons on a VCR remote control, and used to navigate and edit the logic. Most have a small plug for connecting via RS-232 or RS-485 to a personal computer so that programmers can use simple Windows applications for programming instead of being forced to use the tiny LCD and push-button set

for this purpose. Unlike regular PLCs that are usually modular and greatly expandable, the PLRs are usually not modular or expandable, but their price can be two orders of magnitude less than a PLC and they still offer robust design and deterministic execution of the logic.

[edit] PLC topics


[edit] Features

Control panel with PLC (grey elements in the center). The unit consists of separate elements, from left to right; power supply, controller, relay units for in- and output The main difference from other computers is that PLCs are armored for severe conditions (such as dust, moisture, heat, cold) and have the facility for extensive input/output (I/O) arrangements. These connect the PLC to sensors and actuators. PLCs read limit switches, analog process variables (such as temperature and pressure), and the positions of complex positioning systems. Some use machine vision.[4]. On the actuator side, PLCs operate electric motors, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, magnetic relays, solenoids, or analog outputs. The input/output arrangements may be built into a simple PLC, or the PLC may have external I/O modules attached to a computer network that plugs into the PLC.

[edit] Scan time


A PLC program is generally executed repeatedly as long as the controlled system is running. The status of physical input points is copied to an area of memory accessible to the processor, sometimes called the "I/O Image Table". The program is then run from its first instruction rung down to the last rung. It takes some time for the processor of the PLC to evaluate all the rungs and update the I/O image table with the status of outputs..[5] This scan time may be a few milliseconds for a small program or on a fast processor, but older PLCs running very large programs could take much longer (say, up to 100 ms) to execute the program. If the scan time was too long, the response of the PLC to process conditions would be too slow to be useful.

As PLCs became more advanced, methods were developed to change the sequence of ladder execution, and subroutines were implemented.[6] This simplified programming and could also be used to save scan time for high-speed processes; for example, parts of the program used only for setting up the machine could be segregated from those parts required to operate at higher speed. Special-purpose I/O modules, such as timer modules or counter modules, could be used where the scan time of the processor was too long to reliably pick up, for example, counting pulses from a shaft encoder. The relatively slow PLC could still interpret the counted values to control a machine, but the accumulation of pulses was done by a dedicated module that was unaffected by the speed of the program execution.

[edit] System scale


A small PLC will have a fixed number of connections built in for inputs and outputs. Typically, expansions are available if the base model has insufficient I/O. Modular PLCs have a chassis (also called a rack) into which are placed modules with different functions. The processor and selection of I/O modules are customized for the particular application. Several racks can be administered by a single processor, and may have thousands of inputs and outputs. A special high speed serial I/O link is used so that racks can be distributed away from the processor, reducing the wiring costs for large plants.

[edit] User interface


See also: User interface and List of human-computer interaction topics PLCs may need to interact with people for the purpose of configuration, alarm reporting or everyday control. A human-machine interface (HMI) is employed for this purpose. HMIs are also referred to as man-machine interfaces (MMIs) and graphical user interface (GUIs). A simple system may use buttons and lights to interact with the user. Text displays are available as well as graphical touch screens. More complex systems use programming and monitoring software installed on a computer, with the PLC connected via a communication interface.

[edit] Communications
PLCs have built in communications ports, usually 9-pin RS-232, but optionally EIA-485 or Ethernet. Modbus, BACnet or DF1 is usually included as one of the communications protocols. Other options include various fieldbuses such as DeviceNet or Profibus. Other communications protocols that may be used are listed in the List of automation protocols. Most modern PLCs can communicate over a network to some other system, such as a computer running a SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system or web browser. PLCs used in larger I/O systems may have peer-to-peer (P2P) communication between processors. This allows separate parts of a complex process to have individual control while allowing the subsystems to co-ordinate over the communication link. These communication links are also often used for HMI devices such as keypads or PC-type workstations.

[edit] Programming
PLC programs are typically written in a special application on a personal computer, then downloaded by a direct-connection cable or over a network to the PLC. The program is stored in the PLC either in battery-backed-up RAM or some other non-volatile flash memory. Often, a single PLC can be programmed to replace thousands of relays.[7]

Under the IEC 61131-3 standard, PLCs can be programmed using standards-based programming languages. A graphical programming notation called Sequential Function Charts is available on certain programmable controllers. Initially most PLCs utilized Ladder Logic Diagram Programming, a model which emulated electromechanical control panel devices (such as the contact and coils of relays) which PLCs replaced. This model remains common today. IEC 61131-3 currently defines five programming languages for programmable control systems: function block diagram (FBD), ladder diagram (LD), structured text (ST; similar to the Pascal programming language), instruction list (IL; similar to assembly language) and sequential function chart (SFC)[8]. These techniques emphasize logical organization of operations.[7] While the fundamental concepts of PLC programming are common to all manufacturers, differences in I/O addressing, memory organization and instruction sets mean that PLC programs are never perfectly interchangeable between different makers. Even within the same product line of a single manufacturer, different models may not be directly compatible.

[edit] PLC compared with other control systems

Allen-Bradley PLC installed in a control panel PLCs are well-adapted to a range of automation tasks. These are typically industrial processes in manufacturing where the cost of developing and maintaining the automation system is high relative to the total cost of the automation, and where changes to the system would be expected during its operational life. PLCs contain input and output devices compatible with industrial pilot devices and controls; little electrical design is required, and the design problem centers on expressing the desired sequence of operations. PLC applications are typically highly customized systems so the cost of a packaged PLC is low compared to the cost of a specific custom-built controller design. On the other hand, in the case of mass-produced goods, customized control systems are economic due to the lower cost of the components, which can be optimally chosen instead of a "generic" solution, and where the non-recurring engineering charges are spread over thousands or millions of units. For high volume or very simple fixed automation tasks, different techniques are used. For example, a consumer dishwasher would be controlled by an electromechanical cam timer costing only a few dollars in production quantities. A microcontroller-based design would be appropriate where hundreds or thousands of units will be produced and so the development cost (design of power supplies, input/output hardware and necessary testing and certification) can be spread over many sales, and where the end-user would not need to alter the control. Automotive applications are an example; millions of units are built each year, and very few end-users alter the programming of these controllers. However, some

specialty vehicles such as transit buses economically use PLCs instead of custom-designed controls, because the volumes are low and the development cost would be uneconomic.[9] Very complex process control, such as used in the chemical industry, may require algorithms and performance beyond the capability of even high-performance PLCs. Very high-speed or precision controls may also require customized solutions; for example, aircraft flight controls. Single-board computers using semi-customized or fully proprietary hardware may be chosen for very demanding control applications where the high development and maintenance cost can be supported. "Soft PLCs" running on desktop-type computers can interface with industrial I/O hardware while executing programs within a version of commercial operating systems adapted for process control needs.[9] Programmable controllers are widely used in motion control, positioning control and torque control. Some manufacturers produce motion control units to be integrated with PLC so that Gcode (involving a CNC machine) can be used to instruct machine movements.[citation needed] PLCs may include logic for single-variable feedback analog control loop, a "proportional, integral, derivative" or "PID controller". A PID loop could be used to control the temperature of a manufacturing process, for example. Historically PLCs were usually configured with only a few analog control loops; where processes required hundreds or thousands of loops, a distributed control system (DCS) would instead be used. As PLCs have become more powerful, the boundary between DCS and PLC applications has become less distinct. PLCs have similar functionality as Remote Terminal Units. An RTU, however, usually does not support control algorithms or control loops. As hardware rapidly becomes more powerful and cheaper, RTUs, PLCs and DCSs are increasingly beginning to overlap in responsibilities, and many vendors sell RTUs with PLC-like features and vice versa. The industry has standardized on the IEC 61131-3 functional block language for creating programs to run on RTUs and PLCs, although nearly all vendors also offer proprietary alternatives and associated development environments. In recent years "Safety" PLCs have started to become popular, either as standalone models (Pilz PNOZ Multi, Sick etc.) or as functionality and safety-rated hardware added to existing controller architectures (Allen Bradley Guardlogix, Siemens F-series etc.). These differ from conventional PLC types as being suitable for use in safety-critical applications for which PLCs have traditionally been supplemented with hard-wired safety relays. For example, a Safety PLC might be used to control access to a robot cell with trapped-key access, or perhaps to manage the shutdown response to an emergency stop on a conveyor production line. Such PLCs typically have a restricted regular instruction set augmented with safety-specific instructions designed to interface with emergency stops, light screens and so forth. The flexibility that such systems offer has resulted in rapid growth of demand for these controllers.

[edit] Digital and analog signals


Digital or discrete signals behave as binary switches, yielding simply an On or Off signal (1 or 0, True or False, respectively). Push buttons, limit switches, and photoelectric sensors are examples of devices providing a discrete signal. Discrete signals are sent using either voltage or current, where a specific range is designated as On and another as Off. For example, a PLC might use 24 V DC I/O, with values above 22 V DC representing On, values below 2VDC representing Off, and intermediate values undefined. Initially, PLCs had only discrete I/O. Analog signals are like volume controls, with a range of values between zero and full-scale. These are typically interpreted as integer values (counts) by the PLC, with various ranges of

accuracy depending on the device and the number of bits available to store the data. As PLCs typically use 16-bit signed binary processors, the integer values are limited between -32,768 and +32,767. Pressure, temperature, flow, and weight are often represented by analog signals. Analog signals can use voltage or current with a magnitude proportional to the value of the process signal. For example, an analog 0 - 10 V input or 4-20 mA would be converted into an integer value of 0 - 32767. Current inputs are less sensitive to electrical noise (i.e. from welders or electric motor starts) than voltage inputs.

[edit] Example
As an example, say a facility needs to store water in a tank. The water is drawn from the tank by another system, as needed, and our example system must manage the water level in the tank. Using only digital signals, the PLC has two digital inputs from float switches (Low Level and High Level). When the water level is above the switch it closes a contact and passes a signal to an input. The PLC uses a digital output to open and close the inlet valve into the tank. When the water level drops enough so that the Low Level float switch is off (down), the PLC will open the valve to let more water in. Once the water level rises enough so that the High Level switch is on (up), the PLC will shut the inlet to stop the water from overflowing. This rung is an example of seal-in (latching) logic. The output is sealed in until some condition breaks the circuit.
| | | Low Level High Level Fill Valve | |------[/]------|------[/]----------------------(OUT)---------| | | | | | | | | | | Fill Valve | | |------[ ]------| | | | | |

An analog system might use a water pressure sensor or a load cell, and an adjustable (throttled) control (e.g. by a valve) of the fill of the tank. In this system, to avoid 'flutter' adjustments that can wear out the valve, many PLCs incorporate "hysteresis" which essentially creates a "deadband" of activity. A technician adjusts this dead band so the valve moves only for a significant change in rate. This will in turn minimize the motion of the valve, and reduce its wear. A real system might combine both approaches, using float switches and simple valves to prevent spills, and a rate sensor and rate valve to optimize refill rates and prevent water hammer. Backup and maintenance methods can make a real system very complicated A function block diagram (FBD) is a block diagram that describes a function between input variables and output variables. A function is described as a set of elementary blocks. Input and output variables are connected to blocks by connection lines. An output of a block may also be connected to an input of another block:

Functional block diagram of the attitude control and maneuvering electronics system. June 1962. Inputs and outputs of the blocks are wired together with connection lines, or links. Single lines may be used to connect two logical points of the diagram: An input variable and an input of a block An output of a block and an input of another block An output of a block and an output variable

The connection is oriented, meaning that the line carries associated data from the left end to the right end. The left and right ends of the connection line must be of the same type. Multiple right connection, also called divergence can be used to broadcast information from its left end to each of its right ends. All ends of the connection must be of the same type. Function block diagram is one of five languages for logic or control configuration supported by standard IEC 61131-3 for a control system such as a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or a Distributed Control System (DCS). The other supported languages are ladder logic, sequential function chart, structured text, and instruction lis Ladder logic is a programming language that represents a program by a graphical diagram based on the circuit diagrams of relay logic hardware. It is primarily used to develop software for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) used in industrial control applications. The name is based on the observation that programs in this language resemble ladders, with two vertical rails and a series of horizontal rungs between them.

Contents

1 Overview 2 Example of a simple ladder logic program 3 Examples 4 Additional functionality 5 Limitations and successor languages 6 See also 7 External links

[edit] Overview
An argument that aided the initial adoption of ladder logic was that a wide variety of engineers and technicians would be able to understand and use it without much additional training, because of the resemblance to familiar hardware systems. This argument has become less relevant given that most ladder logic programmers have a software background in more conventional programming languages, and in practice implementations of ladder logic have characteristics, such as sequential execution and support for control flow features, that make the analogy to hardware somewhat inaccurate. Ladder logic is widely used to program PLCs, where sequential control of a process or manufacturing operation is required. Ladder logic is useful for simple but critical control systems or for reworking old hardwired relay circuits. As programmable logic controllers became more sophisticated it has also been used in very complex automation systems. Often the ladder logic program is used in conjunction with an HMI program operating on a computer workstation. Manufacturers of programmable logic controllers generally also provide associated ladder logic programming systems. Typically the ladder logic languages from two manufacturers will not be completely compatible; ladder logic is better thought of as a set of closely related programming languages rather than one language. (The IEC 61131-3 standard has helped to reduce unnecessary differences, but translating programs between systems still requires significant work.) Even different models of programmable controllers within the same family may have different ladder notation such that programs cannot be seamlessly interchanged between models. Ladder logic can be thought of as a rule-based language rather than a procedural language. A "rung" in the ladder represents a rule. When implemented with relays and other electromechanical devices, the various rules "execute" simultaneously and immediately. When implemented in a programmable logic controller, the rules are typically executed sequentially by software, in a continuous loop (scan). By executing the loop fast enough, typically many times per second, the effect of simultaneous and immediate execution is relatively achieved to within the tolerance of the time required to execute every rung in the "loop" (the "scan time"). It is somewhat similar to other rule-based languages, like spreadsheets or SQL. However, proper use of programmable controllers requires understanding the limitations of the execution order of rungs.

[edit] Example of a simple ladder logic program


The language itself can be seen as a set of connections between logical checkers (contacts) and actuators (coils). If a path can be traced between the left side of the rung and the output, through asserted (true or "closed") contacts, the rung is true and the output coil storage bit is asserted (1) or true. If no path can be traced, then the output is false (0) and the "coil" by analogy to electromechanical relays is considered "de-energized". The analogy between logical propositions and relay contact status is due to Claude Shannon. Ladder logic has contacts that make or break circuits to control coils. Each coil or contact corresponds to the status of a single bit in the programmable controller's memory. Unlike electromechanical relays, a ladder program can refer any number of times to the status of a single bit, equivalent to a relay with an indefinitely large number of contacts. So-called "contacts" may refer to physical ("hard") inputs to the programmable controller from physical devices such as pushbuttons and limit switches via an integrated or external input

module, or may represent the status of internal storage bits which may be generated elsewhere in the program. Each rung of ladder language typically has one coil at the far right. Some manufacturers may allow more than one output coil on a rung.

( ) (\) [ ] [\]

A regular coil, energized whenever its rung is closed. A "not" coil, energized whenever its rung is open.

A regular contact, closed whenever its corresponding coil or an input which controls it is energized. A "not" contact, open whenever its corresponding coil or an input which controls it is energized.

The "coil" (output of a rung) may represent a physical output which operates some device connected to the programmable controller, or may represent an internal storage bit for use elsewhere in the program.

[edit] Examples
Here is an example of what one rung in a ladder logic program might look like. In real world applications, there may be hundreds or thousands of rungs. For example:
1. ----[ ]---------|--[ ]--|------( ) X | Y | S | | |--[ ]--| Z

The above realizes the function: S = X AND ( Y OR Z ) Typically, complex ladder logic is 'read' left to right and top to bottom. As each of the lines (or rungs) are evaluated the output coil of a rung may feed into the next stage of the ladder as an input. In a complex system there will be many "rungs" on a ladder, which are numbered in order of evaluation.
1. ----[ ]-----------|---[ ]---|----( ) X | Y | S | | |---[ ]---| Z 2. ----[ ]----[ ]-------------------( ) S X T

2. T = S AND X This represents a slightly more complex system for rung 2. After the first line has been evaluated, the output coil (S) is fed into rung 2, which is then evaluated and the output coil T could be fed into an output device (buzzer, light etc..) or into rung 3 on the ladder. (Note that the contact X on the second rung serves no useful purpose, as X is already defined in the 'AND' function of S from the 1st rung.) This system allows very complex logic designs to be broken down and evaluated. For more practical examples see below:

------[ ]--------------[ ]----------------( ) Key Switch 1 Key Switch 2 Door Motor

This circuit shows two key switches that security guards might use to activate an electric motor on a bank vault door. When the normally open contacts of both switches close, electricity is able to flow to the motor which opens the door. This is a logical AND.
+-------+ ----------------------------+ +---+-------+ Remote Receiver --|-------[ ]-------+-----------------( ) | | |-------[ ]-------| Interior Unlock

This circuit shows the two things that can trigger a car's power door locks. The remote receiver is always powered. The lock solenoid gets power when either set of contacts is closed. This is a logical OR. Often we have a little green "start" button to turn on a motor, and we want to turn it off with a big red "stop" button. The stop button itself is wired as a normally closed switch. This means that when the stop button is in its normal state (not pushed), the PLC input will be true. When the stop button is pushed, the input will go false. This will make the rung false and stop the "run" output. A normally-open contact must be used in the ladder diagram, since this input is normally turned on through the normally closed pushbutton contact, and turns off when the button is pressed.
--+----[ ]--+----[ ]----( ) | start | stop run | | +----[ ]--+ run -------[ ]--------------( ) run motor

This latch configuration is a common idiom in ladder logic. In ladder logic it is referred to as seal-in logic. The key to understanding the latch is in recognizing that "start" switch is a momentary switch (once the user releases the button, the switch is open again). As soon as the "run" solenoid engages, it closes the "run" switch, which latches the solenoid on. The "start" switch opening up then has no effect.

[edit] Additional functionality


Additional functionality can be added to a ladder logic implementation by the PLC manufacturer as a special block. When the special block is powered, it executes code on predetermined arguments. These arguments may be displayed within the special block.
+-------+ -----[ ]--------------------+ A +----

Remote Unlock

+-------+ Remote Counter

+-------+ -----[ ]--------------------+ B +---Interior Unlock +-------+ Interior Counter +--------+ --------------------+ A + B +----------+ into C + +--------+ Adder

In this example, the system will count the number of times that the interior and remote unlock buttons are pressed. This information will be stored in memory locations A and B. Memory location C will hold the total number of times that the door has been unlocked electronically. PLCs have many types of special blocks. They include timers, arithmetic operators and comparisons, table lookups, text processing, PID control, and filtering functions. More powerful PLCs can operate on a group of internal memory locations and execute an operation on a range of addresses, for example,to simulate a physical sequential drum controller or a finite state machine. In some cases, users can define their own special blocks, which effectively are subroutines or macros. The large library of special blocks along with high speed execution has allowed use of PLCs to implement very complex automation systems.

[edit] Limitations and successor languages


Ladder notation is best suited to control problems where only binary variables are required and where interlocking and sequencing of binary is the primary control problem. Since execution of rungs is sequential within a program and may be undefined or obscure within a rung, some logic race conditions are possible which may produce unexpected results; complex rungs are best broken into several simpler steps to avoid this problem. Some manufacturers, e.g. Omron, avoid this problem by explicitly and completely defining the execution order of a rung, however programmers may still have problems fully grasping the resulting complex semantics. Analog quantities and arithmetical operations are clumsy to express in ladder logic and each manufacturer has different ways of extending the notation for these problems. There is usually limited support for arrays and loops, often resulting in duplication of code to express cases which in other languages would call for use of indexed variables. As microprocessors have become more powerful, notations such as sequential function charts and function block diagrams can replace ladder logic for some limited applications. Very large programmable controllers may have all or part of the programming carried out in a dialect that resembles BASIC or C or other programming language with bindings appropriate for a real-time application environment. Structured text is one of the 5 languages supported by the IEC 61131-3 standard. It is designed for programmable logic controllers (PLCs). It is a high level language that is block structured and syntactically resembles Pascal. All of the languages share IEC61131 Common Elements. The variables and function calls are defined by the common elements so different languages can be used in the same program.

Complex statements and nested instructions are supported: Iteration loops (REPEAT-UNTIL; WHILE-DO) Conditional execution (IF-THEN-ELSE; CASE) Functions (SQRT(), SIN())

Contents
[hide]

1 Sample Program

1.1 Additional ST Example Programming examples

1.1.1 Function Block example

2 External links

[edit] Sample Program


(* simple state machine *) TxtState := STATES[StateMachine]; CASE StateMachine OF 1: ClosingValve(); ELSE ;; BadCase(); END_CASE;

[edit] Additional ST Example Programming examples


// PLC configuration CONFIGURATION DefaultCfg VAR_GLOBAL Start_Stop : BOOL; Input ON_OFF : BOOL; Coil END_VAR

// Global variable to represent Operator // Global variable to represent Output

// Schedule the main program to be executed every 20 ms TASK Tick(INTERVAL := t#20ms); PROGRAM Main WITH Tick : Monitor_Start_Stop; END_CONFIGURATION PROGRAM Monitor_Start_Stop VAR_EXTERNAL Start_Stop : BOOL; ON_OFF : BOOL; END_VAR VAR ONS_Trig : BOOL; Rising_ONS : BOOL; END_VAR // Start of Logic // Actual Program

// Temporary variables for logic handling

// Catch the Rising Edge One Shot of the Start_Stop input ONS_Trig := Start_Stop AND NOT Rising_ONS; // Main Logic for Run_Contact -- Toggle ON / Toggle OFF --ON_OFF := (ONS_Trig AND NOT ON_OFF) OR (ON_OFF AND NOT ONS_Trig); // Rising One Shot logic Rising_ONS := Start_Stop; END_PROGRAM

[edit] Function Block example


//======================================================================= // Function Block Timed Counter : Incremental count of the timed interval //======================================================================= FUNCTION_BLOCK FB_Timed_Counter VAR_INPUT Execute : BOOL := FALSE; // Trigger signal to begin Timed Counting Time_Increment : REAL := 1.25; // Enter Cycle Time (Seconds) between counts Count_Cycles : INT := 20; // Number of Desired Count Cycles END_VAR VAR_OUTPUT Timer_Done_Bit Timer Cycle Done Count_Complete Count is complete Current_Count Counter END_VAR VAR Library Library CycleTimer CycleCounter : TON; : CTU; : TIME; // Timer FB from Command // Counter FB from Command // Converted Time_Increment : BOOL := FALSE; : BOOL := FALSE; : INT := 0; // One Shot Bit indicating // Output Bit indicating the // Accumulating Value of

TimerPreset in Seconds to MS END_VAR

// Start of Function Block programming TimerPreset := REAL_TO_TIME(in := Time_Increment) * 1000; CycleTimer( in := Execute AND NOT CycleTimer.Q ,pt := TimerPreset); Timer_Done_Bit := CycleTimer.Q; CycleCounter( cu := CycleTimer.Q ,r := NOT Execute ,pv := Count_Cycles); Current_Count := CycleCounter.cv;

Count_Complete := CycleCounter.q; END_FUNCTION_BLOCK