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  1. Color Inspection comes to the ViDi Platform Cognex has announced the release of Color cameras for use with its ViDi Deep Learning platform. If you haven't been keeping up with Deep Learning in Machine Vision, this is huge news. Not very long ago Deep Learning and neural networks were limited to lab use or very large complex systems. But now you can train complex applications and deploy them on Smart Cameras on your product line to perform inspections that were never possible with traditional rules based machine vision. Read the blog here at Cognex "5 Inspections Made Possible with Color Imaging and Deep Learning" By utilizing the D900 platform, Cognex is bringing Deep Learning out onto the production floor in unprecedented ways. Whether it's Kitting, Defect Detection, OCR or other difficult inspection tasks, Cognex has a system that can tackle your toughest applications. Benefits of the D900 ViDi System: 2.3MP and 5MP Grayscale or Color Cameras with HDR+ IP67 Rated Housing for Ruggedness in the Industrial Environment Performs inspections not possible with traditional Rule Based machine vision No PC on your production floor Familiar In-Sight Spreadsheet programming environment Ease of Deployment
  2. Wow, October got away from me. I don't know about you, but things are still moving fast and completing new projects is taking longer than usual right now. But that's where having options and other resources can be a great help. Did you know that Gibson Engineering has been running a Panelshop for decades? That's right, we have a group dedicated to custom panel work. We do everything from kitting, to small assembly work, to custom electrical enclosure, to large multi-bay control enclosures. We even do full Automation Cells. With an Engineering staff of 10 people, and a crew of highly skilled technicians, we can produce products from the simple and straight forward to much more complex systems to support our customers. So if you are trying to get your project completed and resources are problematic. We can probably help. Some of the things we do: Cable assemblies and connectorizing. Assembly services: Machine Framing, Guarding and Conveyors Then on the Panelshop side of things we can offer small panels like our Vision Power Panels and any custom small enclosure, all the way to multi-bay enclosures. We also do complete machine builds from small desktop inspection systems to complex robotic cells. Suffice to say with a an Engineering staff who on average have 15 years or more experience, we've seen and solved many of the problems that exist across many industries. Let us help you bring your projects to completion by leveraging our resources.
  3. With GOT1000 and GOT2000 series HMI's when you open GT Designer 3 software, (purchased as GT Works3 package) if you go to the Help menu and click Manual List it will open a PDF that lists all the various manuals for programming GOT terminals. In this PDF is a list of "GOT2000 Series Connection Manuals" that describe how to configure both your HMI and your PLC. The first one in the list is for connecting your Mitsubishi PLC to your MItsubishi GOT. In the bookmarks section of the GOT2000 Series Connection Manual (Mitsubishi Electric Products) there are sections for every type of possible connection. We'll look at Ethernet Connection as an example as this is the most common today. You will notice it lists all PLCs that can connect via Ethernet, then how to configure the system (built-in Ethernet vs Ethernet Module on the PLC, or with add-on cards on the HMI etc) Then we get to 4.3 and 4.4 where it will give actual functional examples of configuring your HMI and PLC. For example, connecting an R04PLC to a GT27 via Ethernet. Overall - this is the critical picture - ALL the settings needed to make this work are shown here. Notice for instance that the PLC No (Station) is different on PLC and HMI. They each need a unique number! On the HMI Side it shows the screens for configuring the above. On the PLC side it shows the screens and how to configure the PLC: If you follow through with each detail carefully you will be up and running in no time!
  4. Very interesting post Batu, thank you! I will add that Gibson Engineering has seen an upswing in requests for custom training during this unprecedented time. We are doing more training than ever and helping to educate both new and experienced employees. I believe some of the increase has been because of the slow down, but I also think companies are seeing the value in the up-skilling that you mention. As terrible as this has been, I'm left optimistic and even somewhat excited to see where this takes manufacturing in the coming months and years.
  5. Version 1.0.0


    The attached file shows how to connect a Cognex InSight Vision System to an FX3 series PLC with the left side adapter Ethernet card using SLMP or SLMP Scanner communications. It only shows the configuration steps. It does not describe the use of the Control or Status Blocks, that can be found in the InSight help files. This provides connection details only.
  6. Okay - this is tough because it depends on how you are connecting on your PC side and how you are connecting on your PLC side, and new products get added and things change, but here's a general summary. Generally speaking this can be simplified: If you are on a PLC from the last 5-10 years (it's 2020 now) then mini-USB is probably available on the PLC, if not Ethernet is with the exception of the FX3U and the Alpha. So this includes FX3S, FX3G, L Series, Q Series and R Series released in the last 10 years If you are working with an FX1S, FX1N, FX2N, FX3x PLC the front port is an 8 pin mini-DIN RS-422 cable and you can use the FX-USB-AW cable If you are working with an older FX PLC with the 25 pin connector, get the SC-09 cable and get a USB to Serial adapter like the Keyspan/Tripplite USA-19HS If you are working on a Q PLC that is slightly older it may have a mini-DIN connector on it, this is a 6 pin mini-DIN and is not the same as the mini-DIN on the FX series, it is RS-232. For this you need the SC-Q cable with a USB to Serial adapter, or the GT10-RS2TUSB-5S and a mini-USB cable As an experienced Mitsubishi programmer, I keep 5 cables in my bag and this setup covers me for 99% of what I need: Classic SC-09 Cable to program either new or old FX series and some old A series PLCs Keyspan/Tripplite USA-19HS serial to USB converter Mini-USB Cable with Ferrite core like the MR-J3USBCBL3M or GT09-C30USB-5P GT10-RS2TUSB-5S converter to connect to old Q series and some HMIs with the round RS232 connector A good quality Ethernet cable around 10' long. If I didn't have to worry about the old FX and A series, then the FX-USB-AW would replace cables 1, 2 and 3 in this list! Below is a table that shows what cable you should need for what PLC. Family Model Connection Type PC Side Connection Type PLC Side Cable # Supplier Alpha Alpha2 RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) Front Panel Connection AL-232CAB Mitsubishi FX FX-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (DB25) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX1N-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX1N-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX1S-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX1S-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX2NC-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX2NC-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX2N-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX2N-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX3G-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX3G-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX3G-XXX USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi FX FX3S-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX3S-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX3S-XXX USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi FX FX3UC-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX3UC-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX3U-USB-BD USB FX3U-USB-BD MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi FX FX3U-XXX RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-422 (mini-Din) SC09 Mitsubishi FX FX3U-XXX USB RS-422 (mini-Din) FX-USB-AW Mitsubishi FX FX5U-XXX Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) FX FX5UC-XXX Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) L L02 Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) L L02 USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi L L06 Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) L L06 USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi L L26 Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) L L26 USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q00U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q00U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q00UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q00UJ USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q01 RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q02 RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q02H RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q02U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q02U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q02UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q03U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q03U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q03UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q04U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q04U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) QCPU Q04UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q06H RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q06U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q06U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q06UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q0OJ RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q100U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q100U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q100UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q10U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q10U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q10UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q12H RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q12PH RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q13U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q13U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q13UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q20U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q20U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q20UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q25H RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q25PH RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q26U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q26U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q26UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU Q50U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU Q50U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU Q50UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) QCPU QO1U USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi QCPU QO1U RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi QCPU QO1UDE Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) AnSH AnSH RS232 RS422 SC09 Mitsubishi Qmotion Q172D USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi Qmotion Q172D RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi Qmotion Q170M RS-232 (9 Pin Serial) RS-232 (mini-DIN) SC-Q Mitsubishi Qmotion Q170M USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi Qmotion MRMQ100 Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) Qmotion Q170M Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R00CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R00CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R01CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R01CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R02CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R02CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R04CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R04CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R08CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R08CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R16CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R16CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R32CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R32CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R120CPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R120CPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R04ENCPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R04ENCPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R08ENCPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R08ENCPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R16ENCPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R16ENCPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R32ENCPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R32ENCPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired) RCPU R120ENCPU USB mini-USB-B MR-J3USBCBL3M Mitsubishi RCPU R120ENCPU Ethernet (wired) Ethernet (wired)
  7. While this doesn't cover absolutely everything this is a good start at a listing of the most common batteries needed for Mitsubishi PLCs.
  8. A very common question is "what software do I need to purchase to program my PLC?". Luckily with Mitsubishi, the answer is simple. GX Works3. As of the release of the iQ-F (FX5) and iQ-R series PLCs, Mitsubishi released their newest programming platform, GX Works3. And the best part is, when you buy it, you get the two previous programming platforms with it. You also get GX Works2 and GX Developer, all for one price and the price is the same as GX Works2 was, so you are paying the same as you used to and you are getting 3 packages. So which package do you need for which PLC? Use the following chart: *** there is a compatibility mode whereby GX Works 3 will open Q or L or FX3 series projects that is not noted in this chart
  9. Download and install the the version of InSight Explorer that matches the firmware on your camera. https://support.cognex.com/en/downloads/in-sight/software-firmware If you are unsure which version you need, get the latest and greatest, then you can use it to determine what firmware you are running and therefore what version of software you should be running as the two should always match. After installing InSight Explorer, you will need to get your Emulator License: Open InSight Explorer Using the pull-down menu at the top: -> System -> Options From the dialog box, choose “Emulation” Copy “Offline Programming Reference” to the clipboard Go To http://www.cognex.com At the top right create an account, or if you already have one, log in. Open this web page - https://support.cognex.com/en/InsightEmulatorKey Enter a value for "Company Name" and paste your Offline Programming Reference key into the entry field. Click “Get Key” Copy the provided “Offline Programming Key” Paste this key back in your InSight Explorer dialog box for “Offline Programming Key” Click Apply Click Okay Restart InSight Explorer You should be all set!
  10. Picking the right actuator and determining the pitch required to meet cycle times and carry the desired load can be tricky at times, but not if you are using IAI actuators. By using the cycle time calculators created by Intelligent Actuator which can be found on their website linked below, you can quickly and easily figure out the right actuator for your application. https://www.intelligentactuator.com/cycle-time-calculation-software/
  11. Version 1.0.0

    1 download

    The attached file discusses the difference between Sinking and Sourcing, NPN and PNP and Relay outputs. It also includes wiring diagrams and background information into solid state devices like diodes, bipolar junction transistors and how these devices work. If you want an intro into transistor theory and to understand the differences between sinking/sourcing or NPN/PNP, this is the document for you.
  12. Typically when setting up most industrial devices for the first time on your network, you need to configure your PC for a Static IP Address. There are many websites out there that can walk you through this, but this one from Microsoft should be kept current. You can select your OS from the top and get specific instructions: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/15089/windows-change-tcp-ip-settings This will cover Windows 7, 8 and 10. Make sure to expand the section on specifying the IPv4 settings manually for Windows 10. There are also a lot of good resources out there from other sites, but they may not be as stable or current as the Microsoft link above. Here's one I have used which has good pictures to follow along with: https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/19249/how-to-assign-a-static-ip-address-in-xp-vista-or-windows-7/
  13. Mitsubishi CC-Link networks have grown substantially over the past decade and it’s no wonder that there is some confusion on the various versions. This blog is to give a quick overview and hopefully clear up some of what can be rather muddy waters. Let’s start with what CC-Link is: CC-Link is a FAMILY of protocols created and maintained by the CC-Link Partner Association (https://www.cc-link.org/) Very much like other industrial communication protocols, it is used to communicate between industrial devices. CC-Link is also an open standard meaning that it is not controlled by Mitsubishi, but instead the CC-Link Partner Association and many vendors participate in this Association to promote a standard that works throughout the world. There are over 250 companies participating as members of the CCLPA in all sectors of Automation and Industry. The number of products which communicate using one of the various versions of CC-Link is increasing steadily. In 2005 there were 740 products on the market and in 2019 there were almost 2100, so a 3 fold expansion and the product offerings continue to expand. So why is there confusion in the market over CC-Link products? I believe a lot of it comes down to nomenclature. Just like Modbus had Modbus RTU, Modbus ASCII, and Modbus TCP, CC-Link comes in many versions: • CC-Link • CC-Link/LT • CC-Link Safety • CC-Link IE Field Network Basic • CC-Link IE Field • CC-Link IE Control • CC-Link IE Safety • And SLMP (Seamless Messaging Protocol) Before CC-Link IE TSN came around the overview looked like this: It’s also important to understand what is involved in the various protocols in regards to hardware and software which can be explained with this graphic, again this is prior to TSN. It can be somewhat easier to understand if we look at this from a historic perspective. Starting with SLMP. SLMP is simply the messaging protocol used. It is the data packet structure that goes back and forth between the devices. Then we use RS-485 hardware as the underlying transport for classic CC-Link. Stepping up in time the CLPA created CC-Link IE Field and CC-Link IE Control. CC-Link IE Control is Ethernet based on a Fiber Optic network for high speed token based data transfer and it is usually used for machine-to-machine communication when a lot of data needs to be sent and full determinism is critical. CC-Link IE Field on the other hand is based on standard copper Ethernet and can use ring, line or star networks. Both CC-Link IE Control and CC-Link IE Field need to exist as their own stand-alone network. If you look at the model above you can see that they exist right on top of the Ethernet hardware, they are very low-level protocols and do not rely on the IP Stack and TCP/UDP protocols. Because of this, these networks (CC-Link IE Field and CC-Link IE Control) must be kept on their own hardware separate from classic business networks. This is where CC-Link IE Field Network Basic comes into play. CC-Link IE Field Network Basic is a fast, Ethernet based protocol that rests on top of the TCP/UDP stack. This means that it can coexist with other standard Ethernet traffic and you can connect it to standard business class Ethernet switches along with your normal network traffic. The downside of this, is that CC-Link IE Field Network Basic is non-deterministic and the time from packet to packet can change depending on network traffic. This finally brings us to CC-Link IE TSN. TSN stands for Time Sensitive Network. Without getting too deep into the technology, the TSN network allows high speed deterministic networking that has the potential to be even faster than CC-Link IE Field or CC-Link IE Control. It also will be capable of existing on networks with other traffic, as long as the switching hardware that is used is designed to accommodate it. As a general rule of thumb, here are the details and uses of each network (and like all rules-of-thumb, there are exceptions!). CC-Link (including CC-Link, CC-Link/LT and CC-Link Safety) - Serial based network for device level control - Works for small networks of devices with speeds up to 10Mbps - Great low cost option for sensor networks, VFDs, and actuators like IAI Robocylinders - not intended for coordinated motion control or large volumes of data CC-Link IE Field Basic - Ethernet based network for machine level communication using CAT 5E or CAT 6 cabling - can co-exist on standard business type networks using standard business class switches and hardware - intended for device level control such as sensors, valve banks, VFDs, etc - cannot perform coordinated motion control, and is non-deterministic CC-Link IE Field - Ethernet based network for machine level communication using CAT 5E or CAT 6 cabling - cannot co-exist on standard business type networks, it must be separated to a network only running CC-Link IE Field devices, uses a token based network - intended for high-speed, deterministic communication and is often used for servo motion, industrial Robot communication, and deterministic remote I/O CC-Link IE Control - Ethernet based network for inter-machine level communication using fiber optic cabling - Intended for larger volumes of data and a high speed network for synchronizing data between large systems such as different manufacturing cells on the same manufacturing floor CC-Link IE TSN - The newest network, this network works on standard copper Ethernet and should use CAT 6 cabling - provides real-time communication between devices on a deterministic network - uses a time sharing technology as opposed to a token based system - allows for even higher-speed coordinated motion control than CC-Link IE Field - can co-exist with standard business level traffic on the same network if properly enabled Ethernet switches are used - devices such as VFDs, servo motors, and high speed inspection cameras can all co-exist on the same network and achieve communication speeds previously not attainable As the main take-away, I hope you have been able to pick up the main differences between these various networks. Each is it’s own unique system and for the most part there are no converters or ways for the different networks to communicate with each other unless it’s done through a PLC or other specialized hardware. So choosing the correct hardware in terms of a control platform and devices can be somewhat confusing, but hopefully you now understand the differences. And if you need any help in choosing a network or components, please reach out to Gibson Engineering as we are here to support you in navigating these various technologies. For more reading: CC-Link IE and CC-Link IE TSN details here: https://www.mitsubishielectric.com/fa/products/cnt/plcnet/pmerit/concept/index.html
  14. Following on the heels of my blog about Ethernet Protocols, I think it’s worth discussing System Architecture and Equipment Requirements. Over the past several years I’ve been on what I consider the wrong end of system architecture gone wrong and had to help people work their way out of a tough spot on a more than one occasion. And the reason that the architecture has gone wrong is usually the same: either lack of equipment requirements or poorly written equipment requirements. So what do I mean when I talk about System Architecture? Simply put System Architecture is defined by the major components chosen, and their capabilities. This ties into Ethernet protocols quite frequently because people don’t consider the protocols or how difficult they may or may not be to implement. Let’s look at an example below. This set of components and the architecture looks like a reasonable solution at first glance. Each component will communicate and work together, and everything is using common off-the-shelf protocols and should be relatively easy to program and get to a functional state. In this solution we have three separate networks, Ethernet for SLMP to the HMI, Ethernet/IP for communications with a pneumatic manifold which also has remote inputs and outputs, CC-Link to talk to a Robot, and an analog to monitor/control a temperature controller. However, with a small component adjustment we can get to the following layout instead. In this solution we have reduced our networks to just two, Ethernet for SLMP to the HMI which is built into our PLC, and one common CC-Link network to talk to both the Robot and the pneumatic manifold. And we also have reduced our component count by switching to a temperature control module on our PLC and bringing our thermocouple directly to the PLC. This new architecture benefits us in several ways: Component count reduction Fewer networks to maintain Reduced program/configuration maintenance The reduced component count is obvious, and sometimes this can actually increase cost, sometimes certain components cost more than others. For example switching everything to Ethernet/IP instead of CC-Link could be more expensive, but both our robot and pneumatic manifold could have been on Ethernet/IP instead if that was our preference. As for reduced program/configuration, now instead of needing to program and configure both a temperature controller and the PLC to monitor and control temperature based on analog conversion, it’s all native to the PLC. This both reduces component count and we no longer have to know multiple platforms (PLC and temp controller), nor do we need to keep multiple configuration files etc. In the end though, a lot of the component choice mistakes can either be caused by a poorly written or non-existent System Specification or Equipment Specification document. Before sitting down to pick hardware, some sort of minimal system specification document should be created. This document is a living document and can change, but it needs to exist. This document should inform the engineers who are designing and building the equipment what is required in terms of components and functionality, what is optional and potential future expansion plans. A well written requirements document should include only the truly mandated requirements. For instance, maybe a facility has standardized on Mitsubishi PLCs and ASCO/Numatics pneumatic manifolds. This requirement of manufacturers should be included, but unless there is a real benefit to specifying the protocol and specific model numbers to be used, this does not need to be part of the specification document and it should be left to the discretion of the design engineer. The other information that needs to be in the requirements document is the purpose of the equipment, expected modes of operation and how the equipment must interact with other equipment in the facility. Simple things like power requirements (110VAC vs 230VAC for example), safety requirements, data storage requirements, and networking requirements are simple enough to determine and should also be included. Just make sure your requirements don’t paint the design engineer into a corner where it becomes unreasonably complex or simply impossible to achieve. And wherever possible keep an eye on the future. For instance if you expect you may want multiple copies of the machine and they must all communicate with each other, it is much easier to design for this up front rather than completing and validating the first machine, and then having to go back and reprogram and revalidate the system later. So just a friendly word of advice from me to you, write a specification – it really will help, and thoughtfully consider your component choices. In the end this will save you time, money and a lot of frustration. ------------------------------ For more on the benefits of a good specification document, there’s a good article over on automationworld.com: https://www.automationworld.com/products/control/blog/13300793/do-we-really-need-a-urs
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    The attached file is includes GOT project files, PLC project files and a writeup on how to control your Mecademic Meca 500 from a Mitsubishi FX5 (iQ-F) PLC using the built-in front ethernet port. This could be ported for use with an L, Q or iQ-R PLC with minimal effort. This is a newer version of the function block for Meca 500 running v8.1 Firmware. It adds some new functionality and updates previous functions to work correctly with the new firmware.
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