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WinCC Pro Dynamization Settings:  Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Grant Anderson

WinCC Pro Dynamization Settings: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

(With Apologies to Robert Lamm and The Chicago Transit Authority.) As I was walking down the street one day a man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my HMI time indicator, yeah, and I said: Uhhh...don't ask me. I seem to only be able to get a 2 second resolution on this thing. It updates like...well...clockwork, but a clock that only works at half the expected rate. Odd thing, too, since the scheduled task script I'm running to update this thing...

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Pool Vision Application
Devon Fritz

Pool Vision Application

Every DMC office has at least one table sport at its heart. For Denver, this game is pool. So on FedEx Day 2016 Otto, Tyler, and I set out to automate our office Spencer Marston pool table. What does this look like you may ask? Our goal was to automatically detect what pool balls remain on the table. So during our 3-way, 5-way, or even 7-way cut throat games we don't have to worry about what balls are sunk and what balls are not.   Preparation was key for this project. We sel...

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DMC Releases Free Siemens Open Library
John Sullivan

DMC Releases Free Siemens Open Library

DMC is excited to announce the release of the Siemens Open Library. The Siemens Open Library was developed by DMC, Inc. over several years. In partnership with Siemens Industry, we've improved, documented, and released this series of function blocks as an open source library for anyone to use and distribute.   By releasing the library via an open source license, we welcome users to contribute content to help enhance the overall availability of functionality to the greater Siemens Use...

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DMC to Present at the Siemens 2016 Automation Summit
Frank Riordan

DMC to Present at the Siemens 2016 Automation Summit

The Siemens Automation Summit is one of our favorite events every year for sharing best practices and industry innovations. The 2016 Siemens Automation Summit will be held from June 27-30 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's a great opportunity for attendees to take advantage of networking and training sessions focused on improving performance and efficiency with Siemens automation.   DMC is proud to be among the many presenters at this year's summit. ...

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How to Use FANUC PC Developer's Kit (PCDK)
Frank May

How to Use FANUC PC Developer's Kit (PCDK)

FANUC offers an easy way to command and configure a robot from a PC using their PC Developer's Kit (PCDK).The kit allows a PC to access variables, registers, IO, programs, positions, and alarms on the robot. Most of the help documentation already covers Visual Basic, so I'll explain how to get started with C#. Installation First step is to install Visual Studio. Visual Studio Community is free and works perfectly for this application. After installing Visual Studio, go...

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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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B&R Automation Studio Output Devices
Nikhil Holay

B&R Automation Studio Output Devices

For my very first project at DMC, I was tasked with setting up a file handling system through B&R Automation Studio 3. The application was to create a CSV file, populate the file with the revelant information, and then move the file to a new folder. As a new engineer, setting up a brand new system architecture can be a little daunting, so I was happy to find that Automation Studio makes it extremely straighforward to set up paths to different folders on your local storage (in this case, a co...

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Deluxe Drink System
Frank May

Deluxe Drink System

For one of our office parties, DMC's Boston office made an automatic bartender by utilizing industrial automation equipment. Before we disassembled it, we made a '90s style infomercial. The blog linked above has much more detail on how we built the automatic bartender, but here's a short list of some of the tech used: Siemens S7-1500 PLC Siemens S7-1200 PLC configured using I-Device Siemens KP8 key panel Philips Hue lightbulbs And of course, here is our infomercia...

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Beckhoff Drive Diagnostics
Nikhil Holay

Beckhoff Drive Diagnostics

Recently, I was working with a client that was using TwinCAT 3 and Beckhoff drives to control machinery. One night, as they were running this machine, the drive faulted. Without any diagnostic message visible on the HMI, they were completely in the dark as to why the drive failed. Typically, as a programmer, I'll diagnose this by opening up Drive Manager and taking a look at the diagnostic message.     As this is useful information for an operator to see, this led m...

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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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The Robot Operating System: What is ROS?
Ji-hoon Kim

The Robot Operating System: What is ROS?

It’s a tool for robotics research collaboration. It’s a communication protocol, an open source library of interesting robotics software, and a useful prototyping tool. Depending on who you ask, ROS can be a lot of things. Literally, it stands for Robot Operating System. It’s one the hottest topics in the field of robotics, and if you ask, “What is ROS?” to five different people, you may get five different answers! Robots are complex systems with a lot of differen...

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How to Create Fanuc HMI Panels Using the Panel Wizard
Frank May

How to Create Fanuc HMI Panels Using the Panel Wizard

Even though you want Fanuc robots to be as autonomous as possible, you sometimes need operators to interact with your robots and need a simple interface for that. Using third party HMIs to communicate with Fanuc Robots is certainly an option, but there is a bunch of setup needed, and accessing all the variables on the robot is difficult. Instead, you can create the interface using the built-in "Panel Wizard" to create up to four different operator screens. This blog will show you ho...

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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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Duck, Duck, DAQmx: NIDays Chicago 2015 Recap
Darren Jones

Duck, Duck, DAQmx: NIDays Chicago 2015 Recap

DMC exhibited at NIDays Chicago last week for the third consecutive year. The one-day, multi-track conference explores the latest technologies for measurement, embedded, and test systems. We gathered at Navy Pier on a beautiful fall day, ready to enhance our technical knowledge, connect with other local NI users, and introduce visitors to DMC. Our tilt table demo proved to be a popular draw and DMC's team had a great time showing it off at the booth.  As always, meeting ...

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Comparing Ethernet and USB cDAQs for Control Applications
Eric West

Comparing Ethernet and USB cDAQs for Control Applications

DMC recently completed a project that involved controlling an applied load using a hydraulic cylinder. Ramping the load at a controlled rate required a fast control loop with analog feedback from a load cell. The speed of the hydraulic cylinder was determined by a proportional valve controlled by an analog output from DMC’s control system. Based on other requirements of the software, DMC chose a PC-based control system using National Instruments hardware. The customer wanted the control...

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