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The Force Awakens Your PLC
Boris Cherkasskiy

The Force Awakens Your PLC

It seems like lately the Force has awakened everywhere. The only corner of the universe that was still dark and quiet was the PLC and factory automation galaxy. To fill the gap I decided to show PLCs the way of the Force. And what could be better than to teach it some forceful music? The obvious PLC choice for this mission was a Siemens S7-1200 PLC that we happened to have in the lab. I quickly realized that Force is not very strong in PLCs, and they are not very musical. Since they weren'...

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Sharing Tags between Beckhoff PLCs Using ADS Read
Nicklas Thystrup

Sharing Tags between Beckhoff PLCs Using ADS Read

Often it becomes necessary to read a few tags from another Beckhoff PLC without setting up a full publisher subscriber EAP system. Automation Device Specification (ADS) reads and writes can be used to do this with very minimal setup, as long as both PLCs are on the same network. Setup consists of mapping the variable in the source PLC at a static memory location, and then reading it from the destination PLC using an ADS Read command. Steps Define the variable in the source PLC...

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Connecting to a Siemens PLC with Access Address
Leon Grossman

Connecting to a Siemens PLC with Access Address

There are occasions when a Siemens PLC may need to be commissioned with a different IP address than the one assigned in the project. In the case of a single PLC, this is no big deal and it is a simple matter to update the project to match the IP address of the PLC as installed in the final location.   There are several ways this might happen: The PLC IP address was changed from the value set by the original builder. There is a managed switch performing 1-to-1 NAT between the PLC ...

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Linking PLC UDT Tags to HMI Faceplates and Pop-ups in TIA Portal V13 SP1
Jason Mayes

Linking PLC UDT Tags to HMI Faceplates and Pop-ups in TIA Portal V13 SP1

PLEASE NOTE: This blog was written using features available in TIA Portal V13 SP1 Update 1. Some of the functionality shown was removed in Update 3, specifically the ability to multiplex UDTs. Hopefully the rest of the information will be still be helpful to you! Here at DMC, we spend a lot of time programming PLCs and HMIs. While we program systems of all types and flavors, I'm personally most experienced with Siemens (TIA Portal) and Rockwell (RSLogix5000/FactoryTalk View). Th...

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Comfort Panel HMI Faceplate Programming with a Siemens PLC
Otto Gottlieb

Comfort Panel HMI Faceplate Programming with a Siemens PLC

Recently I was working on an S7-300 PLC project that required a fairly advanced HMI, so we chose the Comfort Panel to use Faceplates for the many pop-ups and identical controls required. Creating these Faceplates was a great way to increase our productivity in development, and I would like to share one very important lesson that we learned in the process. The test project I created uses an S7-300 PLC and a Comfort Panel HMI. The HMI control that I created is a Start-Stop HMI pushbutton...

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Connecting Custom Applications to the Factory Floor
Jon Carson

Connecting Custom Applications to the Factory Floor

DMC has expertise in both industrial and PC-based software development. In other words, we do a great deal of projects involving PLCs; but we also write plenty of complex PC-based apps. But my personal favorites are projects that combine the two. We’re seeing them more and more. Don’t get me wrong, off the shelf solutions are great, and should be used wherever they make sense. But sometimes they don’t fit all of the requirements our customers need. Here are some examples I&r...

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Read the Serial Number or MAC Address of your Siemens PLC
Ryan Landwehr

Read the Serial Number or MAC Address of your Siemens PLC

A recent DMC project for an OEM machine builder involved automatically generating log files for each machine. The twist? Each log file needed to be unique and easily traceable to the machine that generated it. This can be achieved using the PLC serial number and/or MAC address, and Siemens has a built-in System Function Block (SFB52 - RDREC) that can be used to extract this data. First let's take a look at the block and its inputs. REQ: Boolean input to request a Read. ...

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UDP Communication on Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3
Sudeep Gowrishankar

UDP Communication on Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3

Have you ever received a tweet from a machine on the factory floor? These days, modern PLCs interact with the typical PC and Information Technology world (Ethernet, SMTP/emails, SMS/text messaging, cloud technologies), but there often are caveats. You might need an OPC server to talk to the PLC and then a separate web service to interface with the your intranet. You might need to send messages out from the PLC to a PC-based server, specially configured to listen and interpret. You might need ...

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Data Logging with Siemens S7-1200 PLCs
Otto Gottlieb

Data Logging with Siemens S7-1200 PLCs

The creation and maintenance of data records for machines is a very important part of keeping machines running efficiently. For example, tracking downtime and uptime is crucial to provide proper maintenance on the machine, while logging stoppages and other events can help provide insight into troubleshooting any system. Maintaining these data logs sometimes requires purchasing additional software and hardware, as well as some programming to integrate everything together. Siemens has been prov...

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Using a Script to "Multiplex" Boolean Tags in Siemens Portal
Nikhil Holay

Using a Script to "Multiplex" Boolean Tags in Siemens Portal

After spending some time working with multiplexed tags in Siemens Portal, I found that I was unable to set boolean values through a multiplexed tag. Instead of using a multiplexed tag, a simple script can help achieve the same function. The function of the script is to take the input parameters and set the proper boolean tag based on those parameters. Example: Controlling Multiple Motors with One Pop-up In this example, multiple motors need to be controlled from an HMI. Without a script, e...

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B&R Automation - Changing Automation Runtime Configurations
Nikhil Holay

B&R Automation - Changing Automation Runtime Configurations

Within the Configuration view, ArConfig contains the Runtime Configuration. The Runtime configuration includes all sorts of useful information, including the unit's assigned IP address, host name, subnet mask, and much more. These functions serve to be extremely useful when configuring a device.  However, if you want to change these setting from the HMI of a unit, there are a few more steps involved.  In the Logical view, add the AsARCfg library to your global librarie...

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WinCC Comfort/Advanced V13 SP1: Pop-Up Screens and Slide-In Screens
Jeff McCormick

WinCC Comfort/Advanced V13 SP1: Pop-Up Screens and Slide-In Screens

Earlier this year (January 2015), Siemens released their latest service pack for the TIA Portal V13. This included updates to Step7 V13 SP1 and WinCC Comfort/Advanced V13 SP1, along with several others. Along with the WinCC V13 SP1 pack came the addition of the Pop-Up Screen and Slide-In Screen features. It is important to note that this is only available for HMIs running WinCC Comfort/Advanced V13 SP1 and WinCC Runtime Advanced V13 SP1. Currently, these features are only available for Comfort a...

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MS SQL Stored Procedures Directly from Beckhoff TwinCAT PLC
Nicklas Thystrup

MS SQL Stored Procedures Directly from Beckhoff TwinCAT PLC

Beckhoff TwinCAT 2 and 3 PLCs have the ability to execute SQL stored procedures to read or write data without the need for an HMI. This is achieved by setting up TwinCAT Database Server on the PLC to manage the database connections, and using functions from the TcDatabase library to execute stored procedures. This blog will go through the steps to setup the TwinCAT Database Server and execute a pre-existing stored procedure. 1. Setup your SQL database and write your stored procedure. 2....

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Connecting to a Legacy AB PLC-5
Devon Fritz

Connecting to a Legacy AB PLC-5

Sometimes the scariest part of working with legacy hardware is connecting to it with your laptop. This blog will lead you through an easy way to connect one such legacy PLC built by Allen Bradley, the PLC-5 series. Look here if trying to connect to a B&R System. Hardware - PLC-5 Series (catalog PDF here) - Laptop with DB-9/Serial/RS-232 or USB port - DB-25 to DB-9 cable (possible cable here) - Null Modem changer (if cable is not null modem) - RS-232 to USB protoco...

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Connecting to a B&R device in B&R Automation Studio
Nikhil Holay

Connecting to a B&R device in B&R Automation Studio

Connecting to a B&R device over Ethernet or over a network is extremely helpful for updating and troubleshooting programs. Without a connection, a CompactFlash would have to be re-created for any small change that was made. In addition, it would be impossible to monitor the state of the program. This article details how to connect to your B&R device over Ethernet and over a network. Connecting to a Device over Ethernet Purpose: Allows file downloads/transfers to the B&R devi...

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Mapping Physical Keys in B&R Automation Studio
Nikhil Holay

Mapping Physical Keys in B&R Automation Studio

The ability to map physical buttons is a crucial element of fully utilizing B&R's Power Panel platform. Physical keys are a great way of making an HMI more user-friendly and robust. This article details the procedure to map physical keys in B&R Automation Studio. High Level Overview Physical button pressed on the HMI Virtual key is triggered Triggered virtual key performs action or sets variable Variable can be used as a trigger for other actions within the program ...

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DMC Joins the Siemens MOM Expertise Alliance Center
Kevin Ferrigno

DMC Joins the Siemens MOM Expertise Alliance Center

Sam Weber and I recently participated in two meetings for the Siemens MOM Expertise Alliance Center (MEAC). Sam and I spent two days discussing the future of Manufacturing Execution Systems and Manufacturing Operations Management (MES and MOM) with top experts from Siemens and other members of the SIMATIC IT ecosystem. DMC is excited to extend its partnership with Siemens SIMATIC IT by joining the Siemens MEAC.  By joining the CoE, DMC gains access to an outstanding partner network of ex...

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Motion Control Solutions with Technology Objects in Siemens TIA Portal
Otto Gottlieb

Motion Control Solutions with Technology Objects in Siemens TIA Portal

This article goes through setting up and using the Siemens S120 drive inside TIA Portal after it has been configured in STARTER. While several other Siemens drives can be started with Siemens Startdrive (G120, G120C, G120D, and G120P), performing a hardware configuration of an S120 drive is not yet integrated into TIA Portal. I have heard that the next big release will have this feature! TIA Portal Setup In this example project I’m using an S7-1500 CPU and a CU320 control unit as seen ...

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Commissioning Siemens G120 Drives with Startdrive in TIA Portal
Nicklas Thystrup

Commissioning Siemens G120 Drives with Startdrive in TIA Portal

The built-in drive commissioning features in TIA Portal make it very simple to commission a Siemens G120 drive with a Siemens S7 PLC without the need for any stand-alone software. Drives can be commissioned quickly and easily, and afterwards all drive parameters will be stored in Portal for future reference. I have described the general process of setting up Profinet drives with safety in Portal step-by-step. Small details may vary with every situation, but the general process is as follows: ...

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SIMATIC IT Line Monitoring Tool for Overall Equipment Effectiveness
Kevin Ferrigno

SIMATIC IT Line Monitoring Tool for Overall Equipment Effectiveness

DMC has recently been working closely with Siemens in expanding opportunities to utilize their Manufacturing Execution Systems and Manufacturing Operations Management platform, SIMATIC IT. One area we've pursued is development of a Line Monitoring tool to help manufacturers implement a cost effective way to measure Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and perform downtime analysis.   This result is a low cost solution built on a Siemens S7-1200 PLC and SIMATIC IT Line Montioring Syst...

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