Author: Nancy Museo
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How To Improve your Programmable Logic Controller



Knowing how to improve your programmable logic controller is very important. Do you know how to improve it? Don't worry, as you will find out in a few. This article is well detailed to help you learn how to improve your programmable logic controller. 

There are several ways you can improve your programmable logic controller; select the best controller, choose your programming software, keep the user interface simple, deploy effective alarms and feedback systems, plan for maintenance, conduct real-time monitoring, choose the right developers, and consider training your staff. 

Keep reading to learn more about the steps to follow during programmable logic controller commissioning. 

How To Improve your Programmable Logic Controller

Many programmers have learned to use their programmable logic controller to help automate some manufacturing processes that companies may need. However, many people don't realize that there are quite a few things that you can do to make your PLC work even better than it already does. There are also ways to ensure that you get the most out of your PLC and keep it up and running as smoothly as possible to keep working towards your goals.

How To Improve your Programmable Logic  Controller


Here are the ways to improve your programmable logic controller


1. Select the best controller

The programmable logic controller (PLC) is the heart of a control system, and when looking for one, it's essential to ensure that it's a good fit for the type of work you'll be doing. Some PLCs are better at particular tasks than others, and not every PLC can perform all the same functions. In addition, the programming language a PLC uses will affect its usefulness for a particular task.

2. Choose your programming software.

Choosing the right programming software for you is crucial. Most manufacturing companies, including corporations and smaller firms, are configuring PLCs and writing new codes, but there's no one-size-fits-all approach to software. The best way to find out which program fits you is by talking with peers and scouring reviews online.

3. Keep the user interface simple.

Since a PLC is both computer hardware and software, care should be taken to ensure that the user interface remains simple. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sticking with only one language for programming. It will make it easier for non-engineers or engineers unfamiliar with programming languages. 

4. Deploy effective alarms and feedback systems

Feedback systems keep the system operator aware of problems and ensure the safety of all personnel. Errors are generally easy to catch if you're alerted quickly. Some algorithms, such as the dead man switch, activate alarms if a controller has not been activated for an extended period. They can help reduce potential accidents and mitigate costly mistakes.

How To Improve your Programmable Logic  Controller

5. Plan for maintenance

Planning for maintenance and repairs is just as important as investing in a high-quality, reliable controller. Don't forget about this detail when selecting your controller.

6. Conduct real-time monitoring

 Almost all automation systems include some programmable logic controller (PLC). Though the PLC is one of the essential parts of any plan, it is often overlooked until there's a problem. Real-time monitoring will help ensure everything functions correctly, and errors are caught before they become big problems.

7. Choose appropriate PLC manufacturers.

Choosing the proper manufacturer for your needs is vital. If you're working on a high-volume production line, you will want to invest in industrial products from companies specializing in this area. On the other hand, if you need high-end control for one factory, find a company that offers customization services.

8. Consider PLC training

A quality PLC training course is essential in improving any PLC system. Whether you are trying to better understand the technology behind these devices or just trying to improve the efficiency of your training process, good hands-on training will make a world of difference. After attending the right programmable logic controller training course, you will be armed with the knowledge that could save you money and time in the long run.

Steps to follow during Programmable Logic Controller Commissioning

How To Improve your Programmable Logic  Controller

Programmable logic controllers are highly versatile devices in nearly any industry, from manufacturing to the food service sector. While programmable logic controllers can be relatively simple to use, they require some programming knowledge to commission successfully. Below are steps you can follow to commission your programmable logic controller with ease and confidence.

1. Cable connections must meet standards.

All cable connections must meet standards, including wiring outside the machine enclosure and any references made inside. However, it's not just about making sure your cabling is up to code; you'll also need to make sure that you have what's known as an I/O loop for each CPU card. It essentially links the CPU card with its connectors.

2. Check the power supply.

The PLC power supply should be checked before trying to program the PLC. The power supply must be working and in the phase before any other operations are performed on the PLC. In the transformer case, the power supply phase is usually denoted by L1, L2, L3, and L4. 

3. Check the indicator lights of the PLC.

One way of checking the PLC is by observing the indicator lights. These lights notify a person of when an error has occurred or if it is programmed correctly. Three different types of light represent power, input, and output. If all the indicator lights are on, there could be a problem with programming that should correct.

4. Put PLC in test mode.

Put the PLC in test mode by turning off all input modules, input relay, output module, and output relay inputs. Place all outputs at their desired state. Turn off the PLC test mode again to see if it has been successfully programmed.

How To Improve your Programmable Logic  Controller

5. Check protective devices

Check protective devices. Protective devices help ensure the equipment and system are safe from external conditions, such as short circuits. There are different types of protective devices: circuit breakers, fuses, line interrupters, contactors, and overload relays. Protective devices should be checked before commissioning an electric system each time it is serviced.

6. Check emergency stop buttons.

Check the Emergency Stop buttons and reset them as needed. Be sure that these will stop an ongoing process should it need to be halted for any reason.

7. Check connection points of input and output devices

Once you have checked the PLC's input and output points, let it run for about an hour. It will help ensure that there are no errors or issues that were not detected in your preliminary testing. After waiting an hour, test all the input points again and recheck some of the output points to be sure.

8. Test the software

Troubleshooting commissioning is necessary because the PLC cannot be authorized without testing. You need first to test the software and then the hardware (by turning on the power and looking for LEDs). After you turn on the energy, use your hand or a small probe to verify that all the wiring and connections are sound. If you see any errors or warnings on the status screens, consult your manual and troubleshoot appropriately.

What are the Components of a Programmable Logic Controller?

If you work in the automation industry, you've probably heard people talking about programmable logic controllers or PLCs. These devices automate all sorts of processes, from manufacturing to pumping liquids at water treatment facilities. The table below shows the main components of PLCs.

The power supply

A power supply converts the power source for the device (electricity) into the voltage needed for the device's internal circuitry.

The processor

The processor, which acts as the central nerve of the PLC system, is a solid-state device built to take care of many tasks in an industrial environment.

The PLC Input/Output The I/O section protects the CPU from electrical noise by filtering status signals, validating voltage levels, and implementing CPU decisions.

 

Conclusion

The PLC helps you automate your production line to help you save money and increase efficiency. But even though they are known for their productivity and precision, if not taken care of properly, you'll be back at square one in no time flat. You can reach out to Guru solutions for help with programmable logic controller services. 

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