Friday, June 3, 2011

PLC Experiment for CHEN 4570

The Instrumentation and Process Control of CHEN 4570 () is a needed course for the B.S. Engineering of Chemical and B.S. Engineering of Chemical & Biological degree programs. This course was extended from three to four credit hours to include a laboratory component in the mid-1990’s. Students gather for lab three hours a week during the semester and complete 14 laboratory experiments. These experiments are accomplished in the Chemical Engineering undergraduate and in the ITLL laboratory.

As career chances developed for ChE graduates in the 80’s and 90’s, more of the alumni were working in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and specialty chemical positions where they met PLC’s (programmed logic controllers). It acquired PLC software and hardware from Bytronics, Ltd., in England. It has used MicroLogix PLC’s of Allen-Bradley commercially in student projects. These were appropriate for these projects because the teams of student could offer the time requisite to study the use of the hardware and, in exacting, the support software of Rockwell RSLogix 500, which is quite complicated. In current developments, the PLC hardware and software cost has cheaper to a controllable level. In addition, Rockwell has launched software with a scaled-down version, RS Logix Micro that is suitable to the time limitations of the CHEN 4570 lab. Software is now accessible from a separate supplier in Canada, Logix Pro, that permits students to study fundamentals of PLC and programming in an illustrated environment before meeting the RS Logix Micro/MicroLogix “real world” equipment.

Currently we consider that we can obtain, at modest cost, a PLC’s set and software that will enable us, at once, to update and create huge improvement in the laboratory exercises of PLC in CHEN 4570. It needs 4 units of Allen-Bradley MicroLogix 1000 PLC, 4 software licenses of RS Logix Micro, and 20 the Logix Pro simulator software network-based licenses.

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