Introduction to PLC Programming and Implementation (1)

1. CONTROL TASK DEFINITION

A user should begin the problem-solving process by defining the control task, that is, determining what needs to be done. This information provides the foundation for the control program. To help minimize errors, the control task should be defined by those who are familiar with the operation of the machine or process. Proper definition of the task is directly related to the success of the control program.

Control task definition occurs at many levels. All of the departments involved must work together to determine what inputs are required, so that everyone understands the purpose and scope of the project. For example, if a project involves the automation of a manufacturing plant in which materials will be retrieved from the warehouse and sent to the automatic packaging area, personnel from both the warehouse and packaging areas must collaborate with the engineering group during the system definition.
Management should also be involved if the project requires data reporting. If the control task is currently done manually or through relay logic, the user should review the steps of the manual procedure to determine what improvements, if any, can be made. Although relay logic can be directly implemented in a PLC, the procedure should be redesigned, when possible, to meet current project needs and to capitalize on the capabilities of programmable controllers.

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