Case Studies

Smoke stacks at a coal-burning power plant

PLC Programming and SCADA System for Pilot-Scale Coal Burning Power Plant

Posted in Energy and Utilities, HMI and SCADA, Manufacturing Automation and Intelligence, PLC Programming, Siemens PLC


DMC developed the PLC program for a pilot scale coal burning power plant, as well as a SCADA system using Siemens WinCC 7.2. The SCADA system included an HMI designed with the end user in mind, as well as custom logging scripting.

Coal burning power plant in a lightbulb

Pilot-scale Coal Burning Power Plant


DMC’s customer required a functional system for monitoring, analyzing, and improving the operation of a pilot-scale coal burning power plant. This power plant used new techniques for heating and circulation to increase the amount of energy extracted from the coal. As a pilot test, the system in its entirety was smaller, but needed significantly more sensors than a full-scale power plant would normally use.

DMC developed a PLC program to gather data from the plant’s research and development platform. The platform is comprised of over 250 points of analog and digital I/O, in addition to multiple Ethernet-connected pressure sensors. Each pressure sensor has 16 pressure readings, several Micromaster 440 VFDs, and Watlow EZ-Zone PM heaters. The PLC program included custom drivers in SCL for the client's pressure scanners for compatibility with the S7-300 PLC, as well as custom-generated GSD files for the Watlow Profibus Heaters.

DMC also designed a WinCC 7.2 SCADA system to monitor the plant in real-time. This enables the ability to quickly identify critical issues with alarms and log relevant data for later analysis and improvement. DMC developed a user-friendly HMI that allows engineers to directly monitor the plant and control heaters and feeders to fine-tune their process.

In order to facilitate the client's data collection and processing needs, DMC also wrote custom logging scripts which logged data to CSV files with custom settings for logging frequency, location, and tags.

Learn more about DMC’s PLC programming services and SCADA expertise.

Customer Benefits

  • Visualization and control over 250 I/O points
  • Reduced cost to customer through custom drivers for existing hardware
  • Custom data logging with user adjustable settings
  • Real-time plant and alarm monitoring
  • The ability to assess and fine-tune pilot plant operations