PLCs control how the world works around us and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Industry has used them for manufacturing lines and sorting devices heavily in the last couple decades with very good results. With such a large amount of implementation throughout the world, initial setup and troubleshooting PLCs is still very difficult. This is because of how many different connections that are present as well as what could be causing a malfunction. The task of our project would be to make a simulated electrical schematic of the PLC system in operation using LabView. This schematic would simulate ladder logic with Simatic Step 7 and a physical simulation with Factory I/O. This would create a full simulation with all three phases of the PLC setup that would give the system a very easy to read schematic. To do all of this we will start with learning all the software needed to run a PLC simulation. From there we would simulate a trivial task like turning on a light. Once we simulate turning on a light, then we will apply the technique to a more complex system. Overall this project would provide a basis for others to recreate what we will do for their larger systems. This would cut setup and troubleshooting times down tremendously. Any problem that occurred in the system would be found in the electrical schematic and could be narrowed down to the exact register or wire. The tasks mentioned above will be done by a senior project team out of Western Kentucky University, and is the basis of our final capstone design course. The four members will be guided by a faculty advisor, Dr. Greg Arbuckle, who is fluent in the inner workings of PLC systems.
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