Category Archives: management

Implementing the Omron CX Server DDE and Excel

Utilizing the CX Server DDE Manager will allow us to provide a link to the information in the Omron PLC. This link can be placed on an Excel spreadsheet. Charts, graphs, etc. can be made from the data. We will create links on an excel spread sheet from a CQM1H and a CP1L PLC. The information will then be displayed as a bar graph comparing the first ten memory areas.

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is a channel through which correctly prepared programs can actively exchange data and control other applications within Microsoft Windows. The DDE manager will allow us to set up all of the links.

Start the DDE Manager by clicking Start/Programs/Omron/CX-Server/DDE Manager

This will start the DDE Manager and place an icon on your toolbar at the bottom of your screen. The application will run minimized.

Right-click on the minimized DDE Manager icon and select Project/New.

Assign a filename (ACC DDE.cdm) to the CX-Server project that you will create, and save it.

The create project will minimize to the taskbar. Right-click on the minimized DDE Manager icon and select Project/Edit.

This will call up the DDE Manager Project Editor. We can now add the PLC’s (Devices) and Points that we want to display.

Select File/New/PLC, or hit the PLC Icon on the taskbar.

Under Change PLC, we can now enter the information about how we are communicating to the programmable logic controller.

Device Name: – Name in which the DDE Manager will call the PLC
Device Type: – The model of PLC that will be connected
Network Type: – This is the communication method that we will be talking with the device.

In our example we will use the following two Omron PLCs.

  • CQM1H – SYSMAC WAY (Omron Host Link Protocol) Communication Port  11, 9600, E, 7, 2. Unit #00
  • CP1L – USB

 Once we have the PLC information, we can now add points that will contain the information that we wish to retrieve from the units. Select File/New/Point  or select the point editor icon to start the point editor.

On the Logical tab you can give a name (Or Change) to the point in the PLC to get. Select the Physical tab.

On the physical tab we set the following information:
PLC: – This is the list of PLCs entered in the previous step
Data Location: – The memory location that we want to read from
Internal Data Type: – This is the interpretation of the data that we are reading. (Example: Bit, Word, BCD, etc.)
Command Modifier: – This is used if we need to Force Set / Reset the data location. This can be used to override the PLC program. Use with caution.
Press OK when finished setting the address.

 Our point is now programmed. You will notice the symbols before the name of the point. This tells us at a quick glance what type of data we are looking at. Please refer to the CX Server Runtime manual for all of the symbol meanings.

Fill out the remaining points for our example.
CP1L – D0 to D9
CQM1H – DM0 to DM9

Start Microsoft Excel.

Go back to the DDE manager and the points under the Project Editor. We can now select the first ten items in the list. Click the first one and then move to the last item. Hold the shift while clicking the last item will select all of them between.
Hit the DDE Link icon.

In Excel, we now paste the information onto the worksheet. (Ctrl + V) Right click the cell and select paste.

The information will now be displayed and updated  on your worksheet.
The update time will depend on the interval set in the DDE Manager. Right-click on the minimized DDE Manager icon and select Update Interval…

We can also set individual point update times in the DDE link item. The default update time is set via the DDE Manager but we can also set the time in the individual points on the spreadsheet.
DDE Update Default Link:
=CDMDDE|’C:\ACC DDE.cdm’!’\CP1L D0′
5 Second Update Link:
=CDMDDE|’C:\ACC DDE.cdm’!’\CP1L D0,5′

In the Project Editor of the DDE Manager you can see the first 10 memory areas are being used. This is the yellow triangle with the lightning bolt symbol. (You will not be able to delete the point if it is in use.)

Calling up an excel file with the links embedded, will give you a Security Alert – Links warning. Select ‘Enable the content’ and then hit OK.

Here is an example of the finished excel file. We have 10 memory locations from each PLC listed. We have inserted a graph that will dynamically change when the values are read.
Download the excel file here.

 As you can see implementing the CX Server DDE Manager is not a difficult task. It provide a quick and efficient way to view the information that we need.

Additional Information:
Excel – Conditional Movement of Data

Watch on YouTube : Implementing the Omron CX Server DDE and Excel
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

Three Free PLC Programming Software Tools

Every manufacturer has there own software to program the programmable logic controller (PLC) or the human machine interface (HMI). However there are a few tools that are free which will help in the development of your PLC programs. We will look at three of these software tools and show how beneficial they can be to you.

Synergy

When programming, I usually will have my laptop for the ladder logic and my desktop for the screen software. Connecting the two together and using one mouse and keyboard saves me the aggravation of switching back and forth between the keyboards.

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems each with its own display without special hardware. It is intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s). Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. It works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Synergy Website
http://synergy-project.org/
Downloads:
Synergy for Windows:
http://download.cnet.com/Synergy/3000-2072_4-10714570.html
Synergy for Mac
http://download.cnet.com/Synergy/3000-2094_4-75362427.html

Windows Calculator

That’s right. The windows calculator can be a very helpful tool when it comes to programming PLCs. When you need to convert, hexadecimal to binary, BCD to hexadecimal, or any other combination the windows calculator can do it for you.

What everybody ought to know about PLC numbering systems.

Start the calculator. Start – All Programs – Accessories – Calculator

View the programmer calculator. View – Programmer (Alt + 3)

We can then choose Hex for our numbering system. Then Word for our length of address. You will notice that the display will show the Bin equivalent along with the marking of bit 0 to bit 15.

7ABC base 16 = 0111 1010 1011 1100 base 2 = 31420 BCD

Note: I am using Windows 7, but all of the versions of window calculator have similar functionality.

Windows HyperTerminal

Serial communication can be difficult using the PLC. HyperTerminal can be used to monitor the communication being sent from or to the programmable logic controller. Just hook up to the serial port and program HyperTerminal to monitor the port. Set the correct Data Bits, Baud Rate, Parity, Stop Bits etc. Viewing the information on the monitor will assist you in seeing the exact data being sent to, or received by the PLC.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE OMRON PLC HOST LINK PROTOCOL

Hype Terminal – Windows 7 and 8

HyperTerminal was no longer sent with windows when Windows 7 was introduced.

Hype Terminal is fully functional replacement of HyperTerminal, perfect for GSM and GPS debugging, works with AT Commands. You can use Hype Terminal to help debug source code from a remote terminal. You can also use Hype Terminal to communicate with older character-based computers. Hype Terminal is designed to be an easy-to-use tool and is not meant to replace other full-feature tools available on the market.

Download Hype Terminal:
http://download.cnet.com/Hype-Terminal/3000-2086_4-76158601.html

Watch on YouTube : Three Free PLC Programming Software Tools
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

Who Else Wants To Discover Takt Time?

Takt time is the beat of manufacturing. It is the rhythm of the company for making products or delivering service. Do you know what yours is? Let’s take a look at takt time and determine how to use it to our advantage.

This is a German word taken from beats in music, and used in lean manufacturing. Takt time is calculated by the total available time divided by the customer demand. This must be greater than our ability to produce product or we would be letting our customers down.

Takt Time = Total Available Time / Customer Demand 

Total Available Time:
This is the total available time for work to be performed. Lunch, breaks and daily meeting times are removed from this total, unless they are constantly covered by relief.

Customer Demand:
This is the average rate at which customers purchase products or service. It is expressed in the same time frame as Total Available Time. You can also look at projected purchases from the customer.

Example:
Total Available Time (Day):
8 hour shift x 60 = 480 minutes
480 minutes – (2*10 minute breaks) – (20 minute lunch) = 440 minutes
Customer Demand (Day):
500 units / 5 days = 100 units a day
Takt Time (Product Unit):
Total Available Time / Customer Demand
440 minutes / 100 units a day = 4.4 minutes or 264 seconds
Each product unit must be produced within 4.4 minutes.

Takt time is the pace the customer requires product. This is different from Lead Time, which is the total production time from product start to finish. The other definitions that get confused are Cycle Time and Target Cycle Time. The Target Cycle Time is the pace at which we will produce to ensure we meet customer demand. Cycle Time is the time the process cycles. Keep in mind all of these items when looking at satisfying customer demand.

Takt time is just a value that will show you your ability to meet customer demand. Material or the lack of it behind each machine is the indication within manufacturing that will show you your current situation. Stock will buffer the unevenness of work and breaks in the manufacturing process. The goal is to synchronise the flow from the first process to the last.

If customer demand is greater than the ability to produce the product or service then you would find that stock would be running out.

If customer demand is less than the ability to produce the product or service then you would find an increase in stock.

A bottleneck is a point of congestion in a system. Work arrives quicker than what can be handled. It looks like the neck of a bottle which limits the ability to have liquid pass through. On the manufacturing floor, you can notice bottlenecks by the amount of material behind machines.

Bottleneck operations are those operations where the machine cycle > Takt Time.

The goal is to eliminate the bottlenecks by looking at our ability to handle customer demand through measures like Takt Time. This does not have to be a hard task. We have the ability through PLCs and data collection to monitor all of the different times discussed and ensure we satisfy customer demand.

Watch on YouTube : Who Else Wants To Discover Takt Time?
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

Now You Can Have Data Logging Free

A data logger is also known as a data recorder or  data acquisition. It is a method to record data over a period of time and/or events.

The recorded information can come from sensors in the field. They can be digital or analog. With analog (voltage or current) we can measure temperature, pressure, sound, weight, length, etc. Digital data can be used for counts, times, events (motor overload), etc.

Data collecting can be time or event driven. Time based would be like collecting data every minute, shift, day etc. An event based collection would be from an error in the field such as an overload of a motor or a fault with a temperature controller.

Data mining / analysis is the most important part of the data logging.

Data mining / analysis is the way in which we look at the data and determine  what to do. Clustering is a method to look at the data in similar groups for comparison. An example of this would be the amount of material made on individual shifts in the plant.  Setting up the data logging in a way to examine the output over time is very helpful in determining methods to increase productivity in the manufacturing environment.

Time studies or observations are vital in the lean manufacturing world. Data logging can be useful in assisting with these studies. However, unlike the usual manual approach, this time study can be continuous.

Doing Time Observations

Data logging does not have to be expensive. It is also not as intimidating as it may sound.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is available in a free download. Just subscribe to ACC Automation to get the link for the free download.
 
This eBook will walk you though step by step on getting information into a database so you can start analysing the data. With traditional loggers, software will read the memory of the PLC and store in a local computer. If the network stops or the PLC communication fails then the logging will stop.
Creating a robust PLC data logger allows the communication to be stopped for a period of time without losing any of the data for collection. This is accomplished by storing the data locally on the PLC until communication is restored. All of the data is then read without loss. The amount of time that the connection can be lost will be dependent on the memory size of the PLC and the frequency of the data collected.
This series will walk you through the steps to create and implement a robust PLC data logger using the following equipment and hardware.
  • Automation Direct – Do-More – H2-DM1E PLC (Ethernet Modbus TCP)
  • Do-more Designer 1.3 (Simulator instead of PLC mentioned above)
  • Windows based computer running IIS
  • Visual Basic 6

Additional information on Omron Host Link Protocol and Indirect Addressing can be found in the eBook.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is available for a free download. Just subscribe to ACC Automation on the left side menu of the website to get the link for the free download.

Watch on YouTube : Now You Can Have Robust Data Logging For Free
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

How to Send Email to SMTP Server

Simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) is the email protocol for sending information. We can take advantage of this ability to email from our data logged from the PLC. Shift reports on productivity can be automatically emailed to recipients. Faults or errors detected by the PLC can be emailed directly to individuals for correction.

We will use visual basic 6 (VB6) to send an email message to the SMTP Google Gmail server. Using this method we can use HTML code to format our messages. Attachments can also be added to the email message. In this example I have added the ACC icon file.

The first step is to add a reference to Microsoft CDO for Windows 2000 Library.  Project -> References

Make a simple form:

This will have one command button on it labeled “Send Mail”

The code for the command button will be as follows:
Private Sub Command1_Click()

Call SendEmail
End Sub

Add the following Sub SendEmail code to the project :
‘Sample code that is used to send emails from any SMPT server using CDO in Visual Basic 6.0.

‘Added a reference to the project by navigating to Project -> references and adding Microsoft CDO for windows 2000 Library.
Sub SendEmail()
On Error Resume Next ‘ Set up error checking
Set cdoMsg = CreateObject(“CDO.Message”)
Set cdoConf = CreateObject(“CDO.Configuration”)
Set cdoFields = cdoConf.Fields
‘ Send one copy with Google SMTP server (with autentication)
schema = “http://schemas.microsoft.com/cdo/configuration/”
cdoFields.Item(schema & “sendusing”) = 2
cdoFields.Item(schema & “smtpserver”) = “smtp.gmail.com”
cdoFields.Item(schema & “smtpserverport”) = 465
cdoFields.Item(schema & “smtpauthenticate”) = 1
cdoFields.Item(schema & “sendusername”) = “gclshortt@gmail.com”
cdoFields.Item(schema & “sendpassword”) = “password”
cdoFields.Item(schema & “smtpusessl”) = 1
cdoFields.Update
With cdoMsg
    .To = “gshortt@domtech.net”
    .From = “gclshortt@gmail.com”
    .Subject = “Send email to gmail”
    ‘ Body of message can be any HTML code
    .HTMLBody = “Test message using CDO in vb6 to Gmail smtp”
    ‘ Add any attachments to the message
    .AddAttachment “c:\AccDo.ico”
    Set .Configuration = cdoConf
    ‘ Send the message
    .Send
End With
‘Check for errors and display message
If Err.Number = 0 Then
      MsgBox “Email Send Successfully”, , “Email”
Else
      MsgBox “Email Error” & Err.Number, , “Email”
End If
Set cdoMsg = Nothing
Set cdoConf = Nothing
Set cdoFields = Nothing
End Sub

When you run the program you will get one of the following messages depending if the email was correctly sent or not.

Here is the message that arrives to the recipient:

Simple mail transfer protocol is an easy way to share information from the PLC data collected.
You can download the following VB6 sample code here.

Watch on YouTube : How to Send Email to SMTP Server
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Speaking to Individual People

Talking to individuals is a complex thing. Everyone is unique and has something to contribute. It is up to use to find out what that is through the way we conduct ourselves. It boils down to our ability to modify our behaviour to allow our audience to feel safe so true communications and be done. We will go through some of the things that I have learned over the years. Some items I am still working. Lets get started.

Julian Treasure in this  June 2013 TED talk gives us some of the basic rules and sins to stay away from in speaking. He also lists some ideas in the toolbox that we can all learn to use. We as individuals need to change in order to speak more effectively.

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen

Listen
Listening is a skill. I was always told ‘We have Two ears and One mouth… Listen twice the amount we speak’. Active listening involves understanding what the other is trying to communicate. Do not interrupt the other person. Listen with an open mind. That is to think about what they are saying. Understand their point of view and opinions. Do not sympathise, empathise with the other person.

Communicate in the way in which the listener wants to communicate
There are several personality profiles that people can use to label individuals.  Assessments like Meyers -Briggs and DISC profiling are good to establish and understand your own profile. These should be use only for your reference. Communication to other people involve speaking to them in the manner that they want. This is where your own personal judgement comes into play. You can divide everyone that you communicate with into four categories.  They can be either more or less emotional than you, and more or less dominant than you. We can plot this out like this: We communicate to the individual based upon how they are on this plot in our opinion only. If I was personally strong in dominant and less in emotional then everyone would that I would talk to would seem to me like the other 3 areas.  I would adjust the way I communicate to them so it matches the way I perceive them.
So how do we communicate:
More Dominant / Less Emotional (Dominant)
We would speak direct and decisive. They are problem solvers, risk takers and self starters. Keep in mind that they have a high ego. There is only one way to get from Point A to Point B: That is a straight line.

More Dominant / More Emotional (Influencing)
We would speak enthusiastically and optimistic. They are trusting, persuasive, talkative and impulsive.  Keep in mind that they want to be entertained. When asked how to get from Point A to Point B: They will ask ‘Who else is going?’, but will come up with an answer.

Less Dominant / More Emotional (Steady)
We would speak possessively and predictable. They are good listeners, team players, steady and friendly. Keep in mind that they are reliable, dependable, patient and good at reconciling conflicts. When asked how to get from Point A to Point B: They will ask what is the plan?

Less Dominant / Less Emotional (Correct)
We would speak accurate and precise. They are conscientious, careful, analytical and systematic. Keep in mind that they want to know everything about the issue before making a decision. When asked how to get from Point A to Point B: They would need more information.

Remember that people change all of the time. We need to adjust the way we speak to them based upon our current observations.

Watch on YouTube : Communicate in the way in which the listener wants to communiate

Observe the conversation on their side
We mentioned that we should empathise with the other person. This means that we put ourselves in the mind of the other person to determine the next step that they will take.  Everyone has a picture of what they are thinking. We need to ensure that we understand their picture and possibly help them paint a masterpiece with our information.

Make people feel safe. You can do this by making every one that you communicate with feel important. Think of it as a big, blinking neon sign on everyone’s forehead saying ‘Make me feel important’. Simon Sinek explains in this March 2014 TED Talk this same message.

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.

Looking For Production Improvements – Then Do A Gemba Walk!

I recently went for a Gemba Walk with Ann Machan,  General Manager of Pentair. Instead of doing normal daily production meetings, their walk does everything you can do in a boardroom, plus so much more.

What is a Gemba Walk?
http://www.gembawalk.com/the-gemba-walk/

We met in her office and were explained the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) for the operation of the plant.  Each of these KPI’s are posted at each department where the work happens and are on a large white board.

The walk each morning starts at the shipping office with the rest of the staff. The operator in shipping  discusses how their department has done in the last 24 hours in relation to the KPI. Questions are raised about the next 24 hours and possible issues. Before we leave this department Ann asks a few personal questions to the shipper. He answers and they start to laugh. It is obvious that they have a good relationship in which information can flow freely.

Splitting up the group into three different teams to cover the entire plant, the walk continues. We went to three additional departments where again we were shown the KPIs and how they related to the department. Notes were taken and questions asked about possible issues and current problems. Information was exchanged from the previous days problem with the solution for one that was to be implemented that afternoon.

We assembled back all together in a central location in the plant. A large board with people’s names (Responsible for Department) was listed on the left side and twenty one numbers were written on the top representing three weeks. The current week that they were on, followed by the next two weeks. This grid pattern was where they then discussed the walk and the issues raised. To the right of the board a chart was placed. This chart contained the total number of problems/issues solved for each department and total company. A graph was also displayed showing the growing trend. Underneath this chart were the KPI charts that all showed either sustained or improved performance.

We started with the previous days issues under yesterdays date. A status update was given and the posted note was moved to either the completion clip at the side or put under a future date. When this was complete, a representative of each of the three groups when through their list of issues. These were then assigned and placed on the board. Problems that required additional investigation were discussed briefly and then the 5 why process was assigned to the person who had the greatest knowledge.

This whole process took about one hour. The Gemba walk accomplished the following:

  • Everyone’s understanding on the current company situation based upon the KPIs
  • Everyone knowing exactly what is expected
  • Everyone taking pride and knowing they are doing a good job
  • Everyone knowing someone is there to help

I found the whole experience of the Gemba walk fascinating. It is the only way that I see that you can have clear lines of communication to all staff. The way in which to grow as a company is to learn from our workers and in turn we will teach them.  It was an opportunity to:

  • See the work being done
  • Experiment with ideas
  • Learn from all parties involved
  • Explain why things are this / that way
  • Watch what is being done

Take your own Gemba walk on your production floor. Let me know how it turns out.

If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,
Garry



If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

To get this free article, subscribe to my free email newsletter.


Use the information to inform other people how numbering systems work. Sign up now.

The ‘Robust Data Logging for Free’ eBook is also available as a free download. The link is included when you subscribe to ACC Automation.