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A modern controller device used extensively for sequence control today in transfer
lines, robotics, process control, and many other automated systems is the
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). A PLC (i.e. Programmable Logic
Controller) is a device that was invented to replace the necessary sequential relay
circuits for machine control. The PLC works by looking at its inputs and depending
upon their state, turning on/off its outputs. The user enters a program, usually via
software, that gives the desired results. In essence, a PLC is a special purpose
industrial microprocessor based real-time computing system, which performs the
following functions in the context of industrial operations
• Monitor Input/Sensors
• Execute logic, sequencing, timing, counting functions for Control/Diagnostics
• Drives Actuators/Indicators
• Communicates with other computers
PLC Example :

• Let's assume that when a switch turns on we want to turn a solenoid on for 5
seconds and then turn it off regardless of how long the switch is on for.
• We can do this with a simple external timer. But what if the process included 10
switches and solenoids? We would need 10 external timers. What if the process
also needed to count how many times the switches individually turned on? We
need a lot of external counters.

PLC - need :

• The bigger the process the more is need for a PLC.

• Simply program the PLC to count its inputs and turn the solenoids on for the
specified time.
• The primary reason for designing PLC was eliminating the large cost involved in
replacing the complicated relay based machine control systems.


Some of the following are advantages of PLCs due to standardized hardware
technology, modular design of the PLCs, communication capabilities and improved
development program development environment:
 Programming the PLC is easier than wiring physical components; the only
wiring required is that of connecting the I/O terminals.
• The PLC can be reprogrammed using user-friendly programming devices.
Controls must be physically rewired.
• PLCs take up much less space.
• Installation and maintenance of PLCs is easier, and with present day solid-state
technology, reliability is greater.
• The PLC can be connected to a distributed plant automation system, supervised
and monitored.
• Beyond a certain size and complexity of the process, a PLC-based system
compare favorably with control panels.
• Ability of PLCs to accept digital data in serial, parallel and network modes
imply a drastic reduction in plant sensor and actuator wirings, since single
cable runs to remote terminal I/O units can be made. Wiring only need to be
made locally from that point.
• Special diagnostic and maintenance modes for quick troubleshooting and
servicing, without disrupting plant operations.


 Fixed circuit operation.

 PLCs manufacturers offer only closed loop architecture.
 PLCs are propitiatory, which means software and parts one manufacturer can’t be
easily used in combination with part of another manufacturer.
 Number of optional modules must be added to maximize flexibility and


The major activities that define the manufacturing enterprise in direct relation to
the manufacturing of products include (i) Production Management, and (iii)
Manufacturing. The first function is incorporated in Level 3 automation while the
second one refers to Level 1 and Level 2 functions of a hierarchical Industrial
Automation System.
Level 3 Automation:
Production Management
The role of production management is to plan and control effectively the physical
and operational resources of the manufacturing plant such as, materials, tools,
fixtures, machines, storage space, material handling equipment, and manpower, so
as to meet the production requirements. Production management is also referred to
as Production Planning and Control. As the name implies, it comprises two
functions, namely, Production Planning and Production Control.
Production planning is concerned with: (1) deciding on the set of products to be
manufactured, along with their production volumes, over a certain duration which
is called the planning horizon; (2) scheduling, i.e., determining the sequence of
production of the set of parts and products over the time duration and (3) allocation
of the necessary manpower, raw material and equipment resources needed to
accomplish the production plan.

Production control is concerned with providing for the necessary resources to

implement the production plan.

Level 2 Automation: Supervisory Control

Supervisory control combines the firm’s production scheduling and management
information functions with the process control functions to form a hierarchical
control system. Figure 39.2 outlines a typical functional hierarchy of such an
industrial computer control system.
It should be noted that the several levels shown in Figure 39.2 are operational
levels and do not necessarily represent separate and distinct computational
hardware levels. In large systems a separate computer may be needed to handle
each level, but in small systems, two or more operational levels might be collapsed
into one computer level. The dedicated digital controllers at Level 1 require no
human intervention since their functional tasks are completely fixed by systems
design and are these are not interacted with, on-line, by operators. All other levels
have human interfaces as indicated.
The Level 2 automation systems offer the following two main capabilities:
1. Tight optimized control of each operating unit of the plant based upon the
production levels and constraints set by Level 3 PPC system by providing
optimal operating set points to the manufacturing processes. This control
reacts directly to any emergencies that occur in its own unit.
2. Improved overall reliability and availability of the total control system through
fault detection, fault tolerance, redundancy, and other applicable techniques
built into the system’s specification and operation.

Functionality at Basic Level (Level 1): The Basic Level shall cover control of all
equipment, sequencing, interlocking micro-tracking of strip for specific functions,
dedicated technological functions, storage of rolling schedules and look-up tables,
fault and event logging etc. Some of these are mentioned below.
♦ All interlocking and sequencing control of the machinery such as for entry and
exit handling of strips, shear control etc. Interlocking, sequencing, switching
controls of the machines. This shall also cover automatic coil handling at the
entry and exit sides, automatic sequencial operation of welding machine and
strip threading sequence control as well as for acid regeneration plant.
♦ Calculation of coil diameter and width at the entry pay-off reels.
♦ Position control of coil ears for centrally placing of coils on the mandrels.
♦ Generation of master speed references for the line depending on operator's input
and line conditions and down loading to drive control systems.
♦ Speed synchronising control of the drives, as required.

Types of computer memory (RAM and ROM)

Memory is the most essential element of a computing system because without it

computer can’t perform simple tasks. Computer memory is of two basic type –
Primary memory / Volatile memory and Secondary memory / non-volatile
memory. Random Access Memory (RAM) is volatile memory and Read Only
Memory (ROM) is non-volatile memory.

1. Random Access Memory (RAM) –

 It is also called as read write memory or the main memory or the primary
 The programs and data that the CPU requires during execution of a program
are stored in this memory.
 It is a volatile memory as the data loses when the power is turned off.
 RAM is further classified into two types- SRAM (Static Random Access
Memory) and DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory).
2. Read Only Memory (ROM) –
 Stores crucial information essential to operate the system, like the program
essential to boot the computer.
 It is not volatile.
 Always retains its data.
 Used in embedded systems or where the programming needs no change.
 Used in calculators and peripheral devices.
 ROM is further classified into 4 types- ROM, PROM, EPROM, and EEPROM.
Types of Read Only Memory (ROM) –
1. PROM (Programmable read-only memory) – It can be programmed by
user. Once programmed, the data and instructions in it cannot be changed.
2. EPROM (Erasable Programmable read only memory) – It can be
reprogrammed. To erase data from it, expose it to ultra violet light. To
reprogram it, erase all the previous data.
3. EEPROM (Electrically erasable programmable read only memory) – The
data can be erased by applying electric field, no need of ultra violet light. We
can erase only portions of the chip.