Human machine interfaces (HMIs) are made to display and control operations for our automation solution. Information is displayed in a graphic format. (Graphical User Interface – GUI) The HMI is usually part of the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system.
Communication from the HMI to the control is usually done through a serial (RS232 / RS485 / RS422) or Ethernet (RJ45) method with different protocols depending on the manufacturer of the control. The automation control device is not limited to a PLC. (Programmable Logic Controller) You can communicate also to drives, temperature process controllers, etc. The HMI usually will include several different protocols and port configurations to maximize the amount of control product that it will be able to communicate.
We will be looking at one of the newest members of the C-More Micro Panel HMI devices from Automation Direct. This is the EA3-T4CL. This four inch colour TFT LCD screen offers great features that we will be exploring as we review this product. Let’s get started. Continue Reading!
Data logging is the ability to save and view data from the PLC in a format that we can utilize elsewhere on the network. The Horner APG XL4 has this feature in its design to periodically log registers to removable media. (Micro SD) This data is stored in .CSV (comma separated value) format which is compatible with many computer applications such as Microsoft Excel.
Horner provides one of the easiest methods that I have seen to get data logging. You can log 30 registers in a log group and have 10 separate groups. Each group has its own configurable timer that determines the automatic reading and logging of the variables (registers). The group also has a manual trigger bit that can be set to log the variables.
This all in one controller provides the easiest way to log data. We will look at how to configure and utilize this feature of the PLC. Continue Reading!
We will now look at changing firmware on our Horner APG XL4 controller. The firmware update will give use the newest version of the operating system which adds new benefits to the controller. The firmware update is also required when changing communications between CsCan and CANopen. CsCan is a peer to peer network by Horner Electric based upon the Can network. CANopen is a communication protocol industry standard used in the CAN network.
Changing firmware will remove all programs and settings in the controller. Insure that you have a backup of your information. Please refer to the release notes for the features that will be set with the firmware update. Continue Reading!
Advanced HMI is a powerful, adaptable HMI/SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) development package that takes advantage of Visual Studio. There is no coding required and you can simply drag and drop items onto the page. The best thing is that the software is free. We will look at using AdvancedHMI with the Horner APG XL4 Controller. Using the program on the process tank application we created previously, we will be controlling and displaying information to the network. The AdvancedHMI package will communicate Modbus TCP over Ethernet to the PLC. We will be able to start and stop our process tank and monitor the parameters via the AdvancedHMI window. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller through the Ethernet port can set up a HTTP server. This HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) server can be used for distributed and controlled information presented to and from the controller to the network. The server can have security for the information presented. We use HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) on the server to create this Client / Server communication. Using the program on the process tank application we created previously, we will be controlling and displaying information to the network. A web browser on a computer, tablet, smart tv, or phone can be used to view and control this information in our Horner APG XL4 controller. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller through the Ethernet port can set up a FTP server. This FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server can be used to move files from the controller to the network. The server can have different security for reading and writing the files. We will use the program on the process tank to move the recipe file and report files to another location on the network. The command line prompt, automated batch file, windows explorer and a free windows FTP client software will be used. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller has several different ports for communications. We have both serial and Ethernet type ports that can be used for many different protocols. These protocols can be downloaded from the Horner APG website and transferred into the controller. We will be looking at Modbus RTU protocol. Using the serial RS485 port on the XL4 we will communicate to a Solo process temperature controller. We will read the process value (PV) into the Horner APG XL4 controller and write the set value (SV) back into the process temperature controller. This is all accomplished without any ladder logic in the PLC. The Horner APG XL4 is one of the easiest networks to set up. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller has a feature to generate text reports. These reports can consist of text and data from memory locations in the controller. Reports can be printed using a serial interface printer through any of the serial ports of the unit or can be saved on the removable micro SD media card attached to the device. We will be taking our process mixing tank and generating a report that will show when the batch started, filled the tank and when the batch was finished emptying. This report will be saved on the removable micro SD media card attached to the unit. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller has recipe instructions. Recipes allow you to send or update multiple registers in your program from the removable micro SD memory card. Each recipe can have 250 ingredients and 1024 products. The number of recipes will be limited to the size of the removable memory card. We will be looking at applying recipes to our process mixer application. Editing, Save, Load and View instructions for the recipe will be discussed. Continue Reading!
The Horner APG XL4 all in one controller has several different instructions to shift and rotate the bits, bytes, words or double words in the memory. We will be discussing the bitwise operations of the shift and rotate instructions. Looking further into the move operations we will look at the Element Rotate and Element Shift instructions as they pertain to a conveyor belt tracking application. Continue Reading!