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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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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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LabVIEW VAS Camera Timeout Fix
Devon Fritz

LabVIEW VAS Camera Timeout Fix

Every so often, a software package update/patch's readme notes become really important for a project. To save you from diving into the readme notes for the LabVIEW VAS package, I wanted to highlight a bug I fell prone to. Integrating vision into your application can include difficulties. NI MAX does a good job of addressing one of the challenges with vision systems by smoothly bringing in camera data to the LabVIEW environment. The bug I experienced was a timeout of a USB3 camera after st...

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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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WinCC OA Presentation at the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Conference
Jimmy Condon

WinCC OA Presentation at the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Conference

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the Siemens Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Conference in Denver. This was Siemens' first year holding the conference in Denver and there was an enthusiastic response of over 120 attendees.  The goal of the day-long event on July 28 was to promote discovery and discussion around the Oil and Gas industry's emerging automation and controls trends. All the presentations were well attended, offering a great opportunity to network in the area an...

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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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Conditional Triggered Device Trace in SiMotion Scout V4.4
Andrew Griesemer

Conditional Triggered Device Trace in SiMotion Scout V4.4

This tutorial is for SiMotion Scout V4.4 HF6 with TIA Portal. Features may change in different versions. The Device Trace in SiMotion has built-in functionality that makes it easy to track down a pesky condition that might only happen once or twice per day. Rather than sit at the machine waiting all day for the fault to happen, you can set up a triggered recording and let Simotion do the work while you go get a cup of coffee. The following steps will walk you through setting up the trace conf...

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DMC to Present at the Siemens 2015 Automation Summit
Frank Riordan

DMC to Present at the Siemens 2015 Automation Summit

Every year, DMC looks forward to sharing best practices and industry innovations at the Siemens Automation Summit. The 2015 Siemens Automation Summit will be held June 22 - 25, 2015, at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, NV. The four day event offers educational programming and networking opportunities with a focus on Siemens automation product end users. DMC is proud to again be among the presenters at this year's summit. If you're attending, we'd love to see you at our sessions. L...

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How to Find and Replace items in WinCC 7.2
Frank May

How to Find and Replace items in WinCC 7.2

There is no global CTRL+F and Replace in  WinCC v7.2 that catches everything at once, but there are a few tools that can help you accomplish the same thing.  Let’s say we have a picture for Robot Defense. This picture has tags, text, script, and dropdown options for Robots. We want to make an identical screen, but for Alien Defense. Below is what we start with: Highlight everything on the screen and right click to bring up "Linking Options" Select "...

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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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