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DMC at NIWeek 2009
Darren Jones

DMC at NIWeek 2009

Every summer, National Instruments holds the NIWeek conference in their home town of Austin TX. This year, DMC has three of us attending: Jesse Batsche, Eric Nielsen, and myself. Monday was “Alliance Day”, tailored to NI Alliance Members, as well as the day for various closed sessions, such as the Big Physics conference to address technologies and trends related to large scale physics applications (particle accelerators, extremely large telescopes). Tuesday through Thursday is ...

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Arrival at NI WEEK 2009
Eric Nielsen

Arrival at NI WEEK 2009

Darren, Jesse, and myself (Eric N.) arrived in Austin TX yesterday to participate in National Instruments' yearly technology symposium and trade show NI Week 09. The activity started early today with a great keynote presentation. Most notably was Alex Davern's (National Instruments CFO) "lesson" on economics and NI's approach to weathering the economic downturn. "Competitors are throwing the baby out with the bath water and we want to be there to catch the baby." ...

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Remote Machine Monitoring–Connecting to a Modbus Network with Java and Jamod
Jon Carson

Remote Machine Monitoring–Connecting to a Modbus Network with Java and Jamod

For a recent project, I had an interesting challenge. It involved a (relatively) simple control system, with an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC, and 30 or so inputs and outputs. The challenge was that the customer wanted to be able to access (and potentially control) live machine data from anywhere on their network, while buying as little hardware or software as possible. After a bit of research I came up with the following solution: The only entryway to the data that was available with no a...

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State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation
Eric Anderson

State Transition to Ladder Diagram Translation

Ladder diagrams are an industrial programming language typically used on programmable logic controllers (PLC). This graphical language mimics a relay logic electrical schematic. For engineers that are not familiar with relay logic, though, ladder diagrams can be difficult to implement, debug, and maintain, especially when programming complicated machines with many inputs, outputs, and states. In these applications, the state transition diagram or sequential function chart are better tools. Bo...

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Kevin Johnson of ILF Visits DMC for the Week
Kristie Simon Shea

Kevin Johnson of ILF Visits DMC for the Week

During this past week, DMC had the opportunity to work with Kevin Johnson of ILF Technologies at the DMC office. ILF, located in Romeoville, IL, produces web finishing products for the printing and converting industries. The machine we are currently working on is a new Sheeter which runs on Siemens' SIMOTION platform. Kevin is intimately familiar with the functionality of the existing Sheeters and he has solid knowledge of the existing code base. In order to be most efficient and provi...

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Solar Panel Project Featured in Design World
Frank Riordan

Solar Panel Project Featured in Design World

A Solar Panel Assembly Project that DMC recently completed was the basis for a feature article in Design World Magazine. The article can be found here. DMC provided controls engineering and programming services for a company that makes machines that are used in photovoltaic production facilities. The system developed utilized a Siemens 317T Controller which provided both discrete control as well multi-axis coordinated servo motion control. The customer benefits of the solution DMC devel...

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PC-Based Controls vs Dedicated Controllers
David Simmons

PC-Based Controls vs Dedicated Controllers

Mike Bacidore over at ControlDesign.com has written an insightful article discussing the recent shift of many of their readers from using traditional PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) to using more powerful PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers). I believe this points to an overall industry trend towards customers wanting robust and reliable systems which are more intelligent, and able to transfer data easily from device to device. Mike also notes how a smaller number of his readers p...

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