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Siemens PLCS, Networking, and More--DMC at the SITEC 2011 Conference
Jon Carson

Siemens PLCS, Networking, and More--DMC at the SITEC 2011 Conference

I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Siemens technical conference. The conference, called SITEC, took place May 16-20 in Atlanta, GA, and Kristie Shea and I represented DMC. SITEC is Siemens’ technical conference where solution partners like DMC, distributors, and internal Siemens staff learn about the latest Siemens software and hardware technology solutions. I had a great time seeing what's new and upcoming in the automation world, as well as meeting the people behind th...

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DMC to Present at the 2011 Siemens Automation Summit
Frank Riordan

DMC to Present at the 2011 Siemens Automation Summit

DMC is excited to attend and present at the Siemens Automation Summit 2011 held from June 27-30 at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts in Orlando, FL. The Summit is an annual conference that focuses on the end-users of Siemens automation products and provides a great venue for interacting and learning with our peer companies. DMC is a proud Siemens Solutions Partner with the most S7 Certified Engineers in the United States. Tim Jager, Nick Shea, and I will be attending the conference....

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Application Programming with Yaskawa’s A1000 Inverter Drives
Jason Mayes

Application Programming with Yaskawa’s A1000 Inverter Drives

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days at Yaskawa America’s North American headquarters to sit in on an A1000 Application Programming class. As a Yaskawa Solution and Service Provider PLUS, many DMC engineers have extensive application programming experience using Yaskawa’s inverter drives in the industrial workspace. In addition to being a Yaskawa Solution and Service Provider, we have frequently worked closely with Yaskawa’s software development team to aid i...

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Using Siemens S7-300 PLCs to Report System Errors
Jon Carson

Using Siemens S7-300 PLCs to Report System Errors

The Siemens S7-300 line of PLCs has about a million great features integrated into the programming environment. After I recently inherited a PLC project where some (many) of these were not implemented, I thought it might be a good idea to do a recap on some of the more useful functions Step7 has to offer us. By far one of the most useful, and sadly underutilized, capabilities available to us from the Step7 environment is the “Report System Errors” utility. This utility, when activ...

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3D Void Detection System
Cesar Pena

3D Void Detection System

I recently developed a 3D void detection prototype system for the packaging industry. The system will measure the empty volume inside of a box filled with contents. Once this volume is known, a subsequent system can optimize the number of packing peanuts required to fill up the box. By using this system, the filling of boxes with packing peanuts can be automated. The Hardware and Software used to measure the empty volume are: 3D camera from IFM Electronic (part number PMD O3D201...

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Ken Brey

VNC on Siemens WinCC Flex HMI with WinCE

A version of VNC Server is available which works on Siemens MP277 and other Siemens displays that are WinCE 5.0 or higher. The open source project can be found here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/efonvnc/ The MP277 uses the ARM processor, so extract the contents of efonvnc_v4.3_wce5x_armv4i.zip into a folder in Program Files on the panel. Run the file VNCConfig.exe once to configure the connection. It is also available from the VNC icon in the system tray. Run WinVNC.exe to launch the se...

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DMC exhibiting at the National Instruments Technical Symposium
Darren Jones

DMC exhibiting at the National Instruments Technical Symposium

DMC will join leading companies to host the National Instruments Technical Symposium that builds on the success of NIWeek, the worldwide virtual instrumentation conference and exhibition held annually in Austin, Texas, where the company is headquartered. NIWeek 2010 concluded in August with attendance of more than 2,500 people, who participated in hands-on training, interactive technical sessions, summits, exhibitions and workshops. National Instruments designed the NI Technical Symposium to del...

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RT-201: PLCs vs. Real-Time Systems
Eric Nielsen

RT-201: PLCs vs. Real-Time Systems

In RT-101: Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS), I provided readers with a brief description of the many benefits that systems running an RTOS can provide in harsh and demanding environments. The bigger question is: in an industry saturated by PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers), Field Point controllers, Microcontrollers and many others, why should an engineer choose an RTOS PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) platform above all the rest? To addre...

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Line Laser Thickness and 3D Inspection
Leon Grossman

Line Laser Thickness and 3D Inspection

I recently implemented a project where we were using a SICK Ranger camera to measure a part. This camera works by measuring the position of light from a line generating laser on its 2D field of view and translating that to a height position. This works because features that are higher and closer to the camera will be closer to the top of the camera's 2D field of view and things that are lower will be closer to the bottom. This is the same effect can easily be seen in shadows when the sun is ...

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Celebrate Earth Day by adding a Power Meter
Ken Brey

Celebrate Earth Day by adding a Power Meter

DMC is working with Panasonic to provide power consumption feedback for industrial machinery. If a piece of equipment is going to consume thousands of dollars of electricity each year, isn't it worth keeping tabs on it? Panasonic's line of low-cost industrial power meters provide instantaneous and totalized power consumption information to your existing SCADA system through a multi-drop RS485 interface. Or you can add Panasonic's own data collection and reporting server for out-of...

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RT-301: Capabilities of Distributed LabVIEW Real-Time
Darren Jones

RT-301: Capabilities of Distributed LabVIEW Real-Time

Eric Nielsen’s Real Time blog did a good job of hitting the major strengths and benefits of any system based on a controller running a Real-time operating system. Here I’ll get into a little more depth, specifically for the capabilities these systems give in regards to distributed execution. As we’ve learned, the major benefits of running a Real-Time system are determinism and robust operation. These benefits can be realized in a very powerful way: distributed execution. Dis...

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It's Easy Being Green
Jessica Mlinaric

It's Easy Being Green

Kermit the Frog once sang, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Sorry Kermit, we at DMC disagree - it's actually pretty easy. We know “going green” is trendy right now, but it’s something DMC has focused on for awhile. It does take a concerted effort, but whether it’s in our office or in our industry we're contributing to a greener planet on Earth Day and every day. At DMC we strive to be eco-conscious as we deliver world-class solutions for our clien...

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Selecting the Right Machine Vision Software and Platform
Cesar Pena

Selecting the Right Machine Vision Software and Platform

One of our many areas of expertise at DMC is developing and integrating machine vision systems. Our focus is on offering the most effective solution for the application; we are hardware/vendor independent and are not tied to any platform. When selecting a vision hardware and software platform, the most important questions to answer are: What are the technical challenges of the application? How many vision systems will be produced? How many cameras are needed for each vision system? I...

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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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Successful Implementation of Siemens' SiMotion Shaftless Drive Standard
Kristie Simon Shea

Successful Implementation of Siemens' SiMotion Shaftless Drive Standard

In many industries, shaftless drive technology has replaced the old mechanical drive systems. Instead of using mechanical gearing to force one axis on a machine to follow another one, servos are used. The servo technology reduces many of the flaws of a large mechanical gearing system as well as provides a lot of flexibility. This technology is in heavy use in industries such as the automotive, packaging, and printing. Using the shaftless drive technology requires the use of a motion controlle...

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Object Oriented Programming in Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs
Jon Carson

Object Oriented Programming in Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs

Since their conception PLC programs have been founded on simple programs. RLL (Relay Ladder Logic) and IL (Instruction List) commands have dominated PLC programs since PLCs first came to market in the 1970s. However in the past few years automation requirements have grown more complex and demanding. This has in turn led to PLC manufacturers beginning to include some higher level programming concepts in their software packages. What exactly have they added? And what does it mean for your manufact...

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Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox
Danny Budzinski

Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox

The concept of LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming (LVOOP) has been around for a number of years now, but has consistently been one of those areas that seemed to have to high of a learning curve to justify learning “just because”. Luckily, in a recent project I managed to get the green light for implementing an object oriented (OO) solution. For me the biggest appeal for OO programming in LabVIEW was the increase in organization, manageability, and code-reuse that it offers. The i...

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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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PLC Troubleshooting
Matt Puskala

PLC Troubleshooting

We are frequently asked to work on PLC systems for clients that we did not develop. The job could be troubleshooting an issue or adding a new feature to the system. Working with unfamiliar code has its own unique challenges, although we take pride in our ability to do so. Here are some things you should keep in mind when asking an integrator or even your own internal maintenance staff to take a look at your PLC system. Source Code Almost every PLC system I've worked with does not store...

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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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