Programmable Logic Controllers And How It Works

220px-Siemens_Simatic_S7-416-3A PLC or Programmable Logic Controller is a device built that can compute small amounts of information to ultimately control an assortment of machines ideally working on an assembly line. To truly understand how PLC’s came about you have to delve a little into the history of programmable logic controllers. In present day industrial automation factories they are controlled using a programming language most commonly called “PLC Ladder Logic” amongst others. Looking through the time glass at the history of programmable logic controllers we can come to appreciate the hard work that thousands of people put into the development of PLC’s up until now.

Where It All Started

If you go back in time to the late 1960’s you can see where it all started. The earliest stage of this story is very enlightening where we walk into an age that makes us thankful for what we have today. Try to imagine staring at cabinets that measure up to fifty feet long and are filled with hundreds and even thousands of relays, cam timers, and drum sequencers and dedicated closed-loop controllers whose ultimate goal is to control a single machine.

How Does It Work?

What happens when something electromechanical goes faulty? You have to troubleshoot it, now can you imagine that way back then when something went wrong they had to figure it all out on pieces of paper, eventually shut down the machine, move or relocate hundreds of wires, add some relays, debug the situation and guess what? You have to do it all over again. The amount of labour and man hours spent on something like this must have taken many sleepless nights.

These were the kind of problems that the Hydramatic department of GM (General Motors) were sitting with so in 1968 they developed a design criteria for a “standard machine controller” that not only had to replace the old relay system but had to:

  • Function in an Industrial environment with all its noise, dirt, dust, moisture, electromagnetism and vibration.
  • Simplification of programming and maintenance was key while adhering to the principles of the current state of programming technology.
  • Be durable and flexible like a computer but priced competitively with a like kind relay logic system.
  • Easy exchange of its components demanded that it be modular in form.

So GM issued an invitation out to competing Companies to come forth with an electronic solution to replace old relay systems and four Giants came forth to compete:

  • Digital Equipment Corp (DEC)
  • Century Detroit
  • Bedford Associates
  • Information Instruments, Inc

Bedford Associates won the contract and quickly renamed the company to Modicon – named after “Modular Digital Control”. Heading this was a certain Dick Morley who some claim was the father of “PLC’s” but in his Bio he reveals he was not alone.

After many years of development we presently employ the use of Scada and PLC technology to control machinery that manufactures almost everything we use today. The history of programmable logic controllers has transformed the sweat and tears of many men into the thriving industry it is today.

PLC Programming Basics

PLC stands for “Programmable Logic Controller” and simply put it is a small type of computer that is designed to control machinery in industrial factories on an assembly line as well as things like fun rides at amusement parks, so in essence anybody should clearly be able to appreciate the art of PLC programming because if it weren’t for these devices and the people who can program them we probably wouldn’t have all the modern day luxuries that we take for granted. Due to the fact that these devices can withstand harsh environments and weather they can last for many years. PLC programming is mostly a visual process when compared to conventional programming which basically involves sitting strictly in front of a computer.

It is because of this visual approach that makes the programming procedure quite straightforward and would definitely suit people with a preference to hands on work.

What Is The Ultimate Purpose And Function Of A PLC?programming_PLC

Its core function is to control machinery by simplifying the command process. They can also be considered of as a hard real time system because it is wholly dependant on programmable time restraints. A program is written for it using a simple software program that runs on a normal pc which is then transferred to the PLC via the appropriate cables and this program is then responsible for turning on and off outputs based on command lines given to it through the inputs of the internal program.

Once a PLC is programmed it can run and control the designated machine for many years without any human intervention. This is why PLC’s are built to be durable and tough so that they can withstand extremely harsh conditions and function on automatic thereby increasing the production volume. These PLC programs are then also stored in what people would call non-volatile battery backed-up memory.

Ladder Logic

The programming language used in PLC programming is closely termed as “Ladder Logic” because its ladder diagram design resembles that of a ladder. To understand this one must create a ladder diagram which function is the pairing of the vertical lines (rails) to the horizontal lines (rails), and whereby every rail has a different voltage and every rung is a circuit whereby the voltage runs through.

PLC Basics Of Operation

A PLC is designed to read specific analog and digital inputs and from a variety of little sensors and after processing it according to its logic programming can execute the instructions via the output values straight to the output machines or devices like solenoid coils, hydraulics, indicators and counters to name a few.
Most PLC’s operate on a scan cycle basis and the details of these vary from brand to brand.

Companies

Companies that employ the use and technology of PLC’s include Omron, Allen Bradley, Siemens, Messung and Mitsubishi.

PLC programming is not only used for machines in industrial settings but can also been seen being used in public friendly environments like internet shops and cuing systems in malls.

Technology Takes Wings

Why do we always believe that aliens would be more technically advanced than us? Why have there been no movies made where aliens are shown powerless in front of humans? Our progress as far as technology is concerned has been pretty decent and with no other example to compare, we cannot really be sure that our progress has been quick but neither can we be unsure. This helps us confidently ideate and innovate and the pace has only picked up in the last few years.

With web and mobile applications running aplenty, it has been a pleasure living in an era where technology has advanced to a point where you can stay connected to a friend on the other side of the night all the time. With the introduction of iOS and Android along with other technologies like PHP and Python, the work being carried out in the field of technology has been wonderful. It wasn’t long back that a concept like GPS would have left people awestruck. Today, kids seem smarter than their parents and the elderly struggle to catch up. They say that the time was simpler before. I would beg to differ.

Balance Bikes

Image Credit: BabbleBikes.com

You’d even find kids on their balance bikes multitasking with a tab in their hands. Upon asking, they’d tell you that they’re seeking help from an app as to how to get better. This mind boggling phenomenon which was non-existent a few years back is a result of technology taking wings and soaring high.

The core of technology lies in the ability of individuals to ideate and innovate in order to bring to the general public a web or mobile based product that helps them improve their life or make things simpler. E-commerce has been a hit all around the world and when you can get your favorite food delivered to your doorstep in a matter of a few clicks, you really cannot ask for more.

However, it needs to be understood that a lot of effort goes into making an application. Hours of coding and troubleshooting are a part and parcel of a programmer’s life and the good coders and designers would ensure that a web product rides high on user experience. The movies made in the late 20th century were themed around how a technologically blessed world would look like in 2050. It is the early 21st century right now and if you pick up one of those movies, you’d find it a very simple one with everything shown in that movie happening around you all the time. With technology getting better, there is a lot to gain and the future surely seems bright.

Get A Credit Card Machine For Your Business

credit-card-processing-670x270If you are a retailer or wholesale merchant you should already have or if not, need to get a get a credit card machine for your business so that you can allow your customers the convenience of transacting using credit cards, debit cards, or other modes of electronic payment. You need to take stock of your business requirements as well as the methods of payment your clients use before you can purchase a credit card machine.

Look At The Various Types

Before you get a credit card machine for your business (whether it be a credit card machine for small business transactions or large ones), you need to know that there are various types of credit card terminals, which are mostly developed to allow card swiping and manual data input before transmitting the associated data to the database of a merchant service provider.

Compare Terminals

Compare credit card terminals prior to the selection of one for use in your transactions with credit-card carrying clientele, as these machines have different features, with processing of credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and even personal checks among their uses. If you are a fledgling or start-up merchant, you may choose from a wide range of small business credit card terminals, such as those that operate with various technologies via different networks: cellular networks, the Internet, satellite networks, and standard lines for telephony systems to transmit and verify transaction data.

The Cost

If you opt to purchase a credit card machine for business, you can save on your business’ overhead by choosing to obtain a device from a range of cheap credit card terminals. Even the most reasonably priced credit card terminals can give you what your business needs, by quickly and easily facilitating transactions between your customers and you, the merchant. These machines can also work as standalones, or as part of a specialized verification system involving other hardware and downloaded software. There are so many factors to consider before you get a credit card machine for your business.Nurit_8400

How It Works

A merchant can take advantage of these aforementioned standalone verification devices if these can suffice for his or her transactional needs. However, even these devices may be upgraded by way of additional applications or software, and the integration into a system comprised of a card reader and other related devices. Some of these credit card machines may be hooked up to smartphones after downloading driver software, and even take the place of special hardware, such as credit card terminals that can process EBT, or electronic benefits transfer methods, work with “smart” chip-based cards, among other methods of payment. A small percentage of these machines process credit card sales differently, with the use of ARU, or automatic response unit methods, or even utilize the relatively old-school practice of sending credit card slips to the processing service by traditional mail.

When comparing credit card terminals before you get a credit card machine for your business, a good working knowledge of how the transaction works is recommended. One may also take note of the prevalent systems, networks, and technologies used by many merchants so as not to compromise compatibility with other terminals and their systems, before selecting a machine to use for your business’ credit card payments and other electronic transaction methods.

Don’t Carry Your Laptop, Roll It!

Are you Tech savvy? Do you have a laptop and take it with you everywhere you go? Are you still trying to make do with a traditional laptop case — carrying your unit around by hand? Have you ever thought what would happen to your computer if you dropped it? People who really depend on their laptop have made the switch to a rolling computer backpack –
Rolling Backpack
A major manufacturer and distributor of rolling computer backpacks is High Sierra. Let me describe one of their models to you: the High Sierra 20-Inch Drop Bottom Wheeled Duffel. The regular price of these rolling computer backpacks are from $51- $119.99. These rolling backpacks are available in three different color schemes: Black, Graphite/Titanium/Spring, and Vapor Blue/Alloy Blue/Spring.

Three Bags in One

This rolling computer backpack is actually three bags in one: you can use it as a wheeled upright, a duffel bag, or a standard backpack. It has a large main compartment with a front-load access area that expands an additional 2 inches when needed for extra capacity. It also has such features as a drop-bottom lower compartment, hold-down straps, two zippered mesh pockets, and corner-mounted, in-line skate-style wheels. This computer pack has a recessed telescopic handle with a very comfortable grip.

Meeting Airline Industry Size Requirements

Another model from High Sierra is their 21″ Wheeled Upright. Price range on these rolling computer backpacks is $132.95 — $240.00. You can purchase them in Black, Graphite/Titanium/Spring, and Vapor Blue/Alloy Blue/Spring. This item is more of a traditional wheeled carry-on bag, that gives over 2,000 cubic inches of room. These rolling computer backpacks also feature corner-mounted, in-line wheels and a recessed telescoping handle with a very comfortable grip. The large front pocket on these rolling computer backpacks are roomy enough to fit magazines and also comes with an organizer section that includes a cell phone pocket, pen slots, key fob and a general-purpose zippered pocket. This backpack also meets the current airline industry size requirements for carry-on luggage.

Another company that manufactures quality rolling backpacks is Solo. In particular, I recommend the Solo Business Case — Their Rolling Computer/Catalog Case. Normally priced around $250, you can often find this rolling computer backpack case on sale at a significant discount. This case features an interior section which is fully-lined, with a front compartment that zips down and has a 3-tier accordion fan file organizer. It also has a disk pocket, slots for your credit cards or business cards and pen/pencil loops. The removable padded computer pocket is capable of holding most laptop computers with up to a 16 inch screen. It is made of black ballistic nylon, and has a standard telescoping, locking handle with a very sturdy and comfortable carrying handle. The dimensions of this item are 15″ x 18.25″ x 11.75″ when empty. Solo alo rolling backpacks for kids.

Removable Briefcase

Finally, I would like to mention the McKlein Chicago 2 in 1 Black Detachable Wheeled Overnight with Removable Briefcase, model 83585. It is one of the most beautiful rolling computer backpack cases I have seen to date. This item is also a convertible product — you can use it as an overnighter bag or for storage of your laptop. The laptop briefcase itself is removable, and a large middle compartment will give you plenty of storage for all of your other essential paperwork. It also allows you to piggyback on the extended telescoping handles of other rolling cases and also includes a protective weatherproof cover.

Helicopter Simulator Controls Give The Feel of Real Flying

147Both video game enthusiasts and people who love flying can get the feel of real flying by using realistic helicopter simulator controls in their flight simulators. The flight simulator is a computer program that emulates what it feels like to be handling the controls of a real helicopter. But this is no longer just a kind of computer game because this is also being used for training would-be pilots in various countries, including the US and the UK.

It’s Purpose

The purpose of this computer software is to let those who are undergoing helicopter flight training to familiarize themselves on the various controls of the aircraft and how to make maneuvers without exposing themselves to real danger. Thus, utilizing realistic helicopter simulator controls will not just prepare a person for the actual flight but it will also allow him or her to enjoy the experience.

Choosing Your Simulator

However, you will need to choose the proper helicopter simulator software and not just the appropriate helicopter simulator controls if you want your simulator training to be both enjoyable and an effective learning experience. To do this, you will need to make an online search of the available simulator software and determine the best for your particular situation by looking at the various reviews, comments in forums and the feedback of users. There are various websites that permit you to join without requiring you to pay a certain fee while others will ask you to come up with a sign up fee. It is up to you to decide whether the value provided is worth the money that you will be shelling out.

Helicopter Training School

For those who are planning to enroll in a helicopter training school or those who are already enrolled, it may be advisable to inquire from the helicopter flight schools what they would like to recommend. Some schools may even include simulator training in their programs. Therefore, some people may want to consider this when selecting the flight training school. With these programs, students can practice as long as they want until such time that they feel ready for actual flight.

Building You SkillsIMG_1Full

However, there is also the RC helicopter simulator, which is a different version of the original flight simulator programs. In this particular type of software, the helicopter simulator controls are not utilized to simulate the maneuvering of a real helicopter but that of a remote controlled (RC) helicopter. The flying of RC helicopters is a popular hobby but those who are neophytes usually discover that it is very difficult to master the controls of these miniature helicopters. Thus, this particular breed of simulators allow novices to familiarize themselves on how to handle the real RC helicopters without the risk of damaging these expensive toys. This is essential because getting used to the radio controls needs a lot of practice.

The hobbyist can practice flying, hovering and landing while using different kinds of helicopters. Of course, those who plan to fly the real thing can also learn a lot by using this kind of flight simulators.

Popular Wireless Bluetooth Speakers Design

Boombotix Boombot Rex

Wireless Bluetooth speakers have been the talk of the town for a while now and it seems to me that they are not ceasing to be so for a while now. If you’re a music aficionado, it is very important that you choose the right kind of speakers to beautify your music experience. The three best wireless speakers that have gained much popularity are –

This list of three consists of my favourite wireless Bluetooth speakers in that order.

1. Turtle Shell: The speakers are visually very appealing and carry a fantastic geometric design. I am not very happy with the handsome price tag of $129.95 and I believe it is not the best choice for those who love bass in their music. However, the water resistant speaker can get pretty loud without any distortion in the voice and therefore are among the best in the market.

The design of the Turtle Shell is pleasing to the eye. With dimensions of 2.1 by 5.6 by 3.9 inches (HWD), this 0.7 pound speaker sports an angular top panel with all triangles jutting out in a beautiful pattern. The black model one that you cannot take your eyes off and if you are one for style, Turtle Shell is the one for you.

2. Boombotix Boombot Rex: The catchy part is the LED that glows different colors depending on the pairing status. If you are looking for a rugged design to go with your denims, there is nothing better than the Boombot. These wireless Bluetooth speakers give a very clear output at low volumes. Sporting a fantastic design, these water resistant speakers are priced at $119 but I feel the cost is not justified because of the simple reason that there is considerable distortion at higher volumes.

With a hexagonal contour, the measurements read 3.2 by 3.4 by 2.2 inches (HWD). The ruggedness of the design comes from the fact that the semi-transparent speaker grille takes up the entire front panel. If you’re a biker who likes to indulge in adventure sports while sporting a cool look, the Boombotix Boombot is the one for you.

3. Bose SoundLink Mini:  Sporting a sturdy design, these wireless speakers live up to the name of the brand. Midrange and high-end sounds are loud and clear but the one problem annoyed me the most was the inability of the speakers to charge with the USB. Slightly on the expensive side at $199.95, the product is indeed value for money.

The fresh metal grille and the elegant aluminium shell give the speakers a classy look. The measurements stand at 2 by 7.1 by 2.3 inches (HWD) and the sleek design sells the device on its own. With a grey finish and with rubber covers going viral in the markets, the device adds to the cool look of the user. If you’re a person who likes to be in your zone and socialize with classy crowd, the Bose SoundLink Mini is the one for you.