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11 More DMC Engineers Attain Siemens Global Certifications
Nick Shea

11 More DMC Engineers Attain Siemens Global Certifications

Back in 2011, DMC attained the most Siemens Certified Engineers in the United States when eight of our employees passed the Siemens Global Certification or Recertification exams. We have grown as a company since then, and so have the number of Siemens experts at DMC!  DMC is proud to continue to have the most Siemens Certified engineers in the United States. Thirty-one DMC engineers have met all of the requirements for the Global Technical Certification in the SIMATIC Technology areas...

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DMC Renews Certifications in the Wonderware SI Partner Program
Nick Shea

DMC Renews Certifications in the Wonderware SI Partner Program

DMC is now a Wonderware Certified Systems Integrator in InTouch and System Platform! Certified Systems Integrators are able to integrate enterprise manufacturing systems in intricate, multi-level projects. What is the Wonderware SI Partner Program? Per Schneider Electric, “The Wonderware SI Partner Program is a multi-tier support system that recognizes participants by their level of experience and certification with Schneider Electric brands, market focus, and industry-related expert...

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DMC Hosts Chicagoland Siemens User Group (ChUG)
Nick Shea

DMC Hosts Chicagoland Siemens User Group (ChUG)

DMC proudly hosted the inaugural Chicagoland Siemens User Group (ChUG) meeting at our office on April 7, 2016. The event was the first in an ongoing initiative to grow the local Siemens User Community. The first ChUG meeting drew a fantastic turnout of around 30 attendees that came from as far as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Alabama. The group included end users, OEMs, and integrators interested in improving their automation engineering capabilities and sharing best practices. Siemens r...

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The Basics of Siemens S7 PLC I/O Addressing
Nick Shea

The Basics of Siemens S7 PLC I/O Addressing

Are you a new user of Siemens PLCs a and wondering what terms like "process image" and "peripheral address" mean? What does the "P" in "PIW" stand for? Are you an experienced user and are too embarrassed to ask? Or, maybe you are like me and just need refresher every once in a while? Fortunately, the Siemens support website has a great article that explains these different ways to access I/O for Siemens S7-300 and 400 PLCs. Here are some summary t...

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Siemens S7-1200 Analog IO
Nick Shea

Siemens S7-1200 Analog IO

If you find yourself working with Analog IO on the Siemens S7-1200 for the first time, you may wonder how and where to start.  Here are some basic tips for working with Analog IO on this PLC platform.  For the purposes of this blog, I will focus on implementing 4-20mA inputs and outputs, but the concepts should apply to other signal types as well. Configuring Analog Input/Output Models: Open the Device Configuration for the PLC.  Add your module, then configure each channel...

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Siemens vs Allen-Bradley: Function Blocks
Nick Shea

Siemens vs Allen-Bradley: Function Blocks

Siemens and Rockwell Automation are two giants competing in industrial automation technology today. Rockwell (aka Allen-Bradley) seems to be more popular in the US market, but Siemens has a larger international customer base. A cursory Google search will reveal that there is no lack of debate among automation professionals over which one is preferred. On the higher end of their PLC lines, the programming environments to use are: Siemens - Step 7 Simatic Manager for S7-300 and 400 level ...

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PLC Analog IO Troubleshooting Tips
Nick Shea

PLC Analog IO Troubleshooting Tips

When commissioning or troubleshooting PLC inputs and outputs (IO), the analog signals are often the most difficult. First, analog IO almost always has to be scaled to convert the raw signal to useful process values. Also, there are many wiring and external device (sensor/actuator) configurations. Here are some simple guidelines for troubleshooting and working with Analog IO. Although these guidelines are intended to help you think about the process of troubleshooting, this process will surely...

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"Indirect Addressing" in Step 7 Basic v10.5 SP2
Nick Shea

"Indirect Addressing" in Step 7 Basic v10.5 SP2

For those of us who appreciate and harness the power of indirect addressing in Siemens S7 300 and 400 level PLCs, we were sad to hear that this functionality was not supported in the same way for the new Step 7 Basic software for S7-1200 PLCs. As of Service Pack 2 for Step 7 Basic 10.5, however, Siemens has added array indexing functions that get you closer to indirect addressing. They are called "FieldRead" and "FieldWrite". Essentially, they are functions that allow you ...

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Siemens S7-1200 PLC communicates through Sinaut MD720-3 cellular modem
Nick Shea

Siemens S7-1200 PLC communicates through Sinaut MD720-3 cellular modem

Many consumers, including myself, have tapped into the ever-growing functionality of mobile internet. Many people leverage this infrastructure for their mobile phone. Others are beginning to use WiMAX connections for their PCs. Not to be out-done, PLCs are also capable of communicating through wireless data plans. DMC just finished the proof-of-concept phase in a project using the new Siemens Simatic S7-1200 PLC and Siemens Sinaut MD720 GPRS GSM cellular modem. We were able to successfully se...

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Building Customer Relations... on the Soccer Field
Nick Shea

Building Customer Relations... on the Soccer Field

On a recent project in Guangzhou, China, I had an opportunity to join a soccer outing with guys from our client's factory. Ok, so maybe it wasn't a FIFA World Cup caliber match, but we had a great time pitting the engineering department versus the operations and materials departments. It was a great way to take advantage of the warm weather in late November and to get out after a long week commissioning a batch reporting system. I was there to install a .NET application to captu...

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Nick Shea

Safety PLC Impact On Software vs. Hardware Debate

After working on several projects with Siemens S7-300 Safety PLCs, I was given the opportunity to contribute to an article for ControlDesign.com that presents cases for and against replacing hardware components with software solutions in machine control. From my experience, I have seen some direct advantages of replacing hardware such as a safety relay with a safety program in a safety-rated PLC. Some benefits of going this direction are: Wiring Advantage Single pair of contacts a...

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Remote IO Configuration for Simatic 505 - As Easy As 3-4-5...
Nick Shea

Remote IO Configuration for Simatic 505 - As Easy As 3-4-5...

While commissioning the automation controls for a manufacturing line, I acquired some tips and tricks for configuring a Profibus network on a Simatac 505 (formerly known as a TI 505). Using 505 Workshop version 4.32 development environment from Fastrak Softworks, I was able to utilize their built-in Profibus I/O configuration tool instead of the out-dated COM Profibus application. Whereas I've commissioned several systems using a Siemens S7 PLC with remote IO and VFD connections via Profi...

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Schneider Electric's Energy Management Seminar
Nick Shea

Schneider Electric's Energy Management Seminar

Yesterday, I attended the 2009 Energy Management Seminar presented by Schneider Electric. The seminar focused on strategies and technologies to monitor and improve energy efficiency. The keynote speaker, Peter Garforth, made a compelling case for energy productivity as a profitable business opportunity. Some highlights of his presentation were: Only 30% of energy generated is actually sold as electricity. The rest is wasted heat. We use less than 10% of the energy we pay for. "Lo...

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