DMC Engineers Serve up a Siemens S7 Powered DrinkBot

DMC Engineers Serve up a Siemens S7 Powered DrinkBot

Working together for over a year, a group of DMC engineers built our very own DrinkBot. We developed it during a FedEx Day and improved the DrinkBot over a second FedEx Day. DMC's DrinkBot finally made its debut at the Siemens Automation Summit 2017.

As happens in the development process, we slowly improved the DrinkBot over time. We started displaying it at career fairs in Colorado to help grow the team. We also took it to events in New York, Houston, Seattle, and Manufacturing in America in Detroit. For now, the DrinkBot's home in DMC's Denver office ready to entertain visitors as we give tours.

The DrinkBot is an excellent tool for highlighting multiple factory automation technologies offered by DMC while serving a variety of drinks - anything from cocktails to Italian sodas. We could have simplified the DrinkBot, but its intention was to show off a bunch of cool capabilities and to demonstrate a lot of DMC and the Siemens S7-1200 platforms' potential uses and abilities.

DMC's DrinkBot utilizes a Siemens S7-1200 PLC, 7" Comfort Panel, Siemens G120, and Siemens 1FK7 Servo Motor with DRIVE-CLiQ encoder to control the operation. The DrinkBot provides eight different alcohols or syrups and six different mixers for a large variety of drink options. Without further ado, let me dig into each part!

DMC's DrinkBot features Siemens S7

The Brain

The brain of our bot is a Siemens S7-1200 PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). Compact and inexpensive, the controller is capable enough to control all the motion axis, valves, and other organs. We used the Siemens S7-1215, which has more than enough onboard IO to manage the entire process. It controls six valves for drink mixers, a solenoid valve for alcohol dispensing, a variety of sensors to ensure everything is in the right place, PTO (Pulse Train Output) output to move the rotary access (which selects the alcohol), and ProfiNET Communication to the G120 to control the linear axis.

Siemens S7-1200 PLC inside the DrinkBot.

The Body

The DrinkBot also has two limbs powered by servo motors. The spinny one with bottles is controlled with a PTO and is utilizing built-in IO on the S7-1200.

It works like this: the PLC generates a precisely-timed sequence of high-speed step/direction pulses for the motor controller to get to an exact position at the right speed. Thanks to the accurate position control, our DrinkBot never spills your drinks or creates a mess.

Siemens powered drink bot with bottles.

The other limb is used to move your cup around. A VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) controls this limb. It talks to the bot's brain over a standard protocol called PROFINET. VFDs are usually used to control simple AC motors, but the DrinkBot's is better because it is using the Siemens G120 for full closed-loop position control! Rather than a standard AC motor, it controls a full servo motor with DRIVE-CLiQ encoder feedback!

Siemens G120 Servo.

The Faces

The only way you can tell that our DrinkBot isn't human is by looking at its face - it has two of them! 

The one with lit buttons is a Siemens SIMATIC HMI key panel. It is an inexpensive device that provides ordering options utilizing PROFINET and is very convenient for ordering drinks with the single push of a button! It also has multi-color buttons that are used to create a light show. In an industrial environment, this HMI can look a lot more serious.

DMC Denver Manager John Sullivan preps Gina and Nikhil for the DMC DrinkBots inaugural showing.

The other face with a fancy graphical screen is a 7" SIMATIC Comfort Panel. It stores the drink recipes and allows you to choose from a large variety of preselected options or to create your own with whatever ingredients you prefer. 

Additionally, it provides the ability to manually move all pieces of the DrinkBot so that we can fix and identify issues caused by shipping. It utilizes advanced scripting to allow for a wide variety of dynamic buttons, letting the most popular recipes be displayed first, enabling us to move the display location different drink recipes quickly.

DMC DrinkBot Comfort Panel Screen.

Here it is in action:

Summary of Technology

  • Siemens S7-1200 PLC
  • Siemens 1FK7 Servo Motor
  • Siemens G120 VFD
  • SIMATIC Comfort Panel
  • TIA Portal
  • WinCC Comfort
  • Custom Panel built by Palmer DCS

To see how we can help you get started on a project, check out our Siemens PLC programming services and contact us today!

Learn more about DMC's partnership with Siemens.


Chris Wiedeman
# Chris Wiedeman
Very nice system! Would love one in my house. Great work, guys!

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