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Software-based program development for programmable controllers.

Acceptance of programmable controllers (PCs) over the past 15 years is directly attributable to their user-friendliness, both in terms of hardware, and the familiar relay ladder diagram language by which the PC was programmed. However, early applications concentrated within those discrete or sequential logic segments typically found in automotive manufacturing and material handling applications.

James F Shanley, Supervisor, Product Development and Support Products, Allen-Bradley Systems Div, Highland Heights, OH, says that today PCs are applied in every major industrial sector as well as the auto industry. Applications of PC's range from material handling to continuous process control; functionally PCs are used for control problems requiring analog, digital, high order math, discrete logic, and computational capabilities. It has become evident that new industries, applications, and functional capabilities place new demands particularly on program development and management aspects of the control system.

To provide a sufficient range of support tools needed to cover this breadth of requirements, today's PC manufacturer must provide a multiplicity of solutions to meet these and future needs. One of the most effective methods of meeting new customer requirements, is to provide program development functionality in a software-base rather than a hardware form. The advantages are:

* Configurability. By simply loading the appropriate software into a programming terminal, for example, the functionality of the device can be changed to program in a different language, program a different PC type, or provide a different support function such as annotating the control logic with text comments or accumulating data from the PC for production reporting.

* Expandability. As new capabilities are added, software modules supporting those capabilities can be easily added by the customer to his program development hardware.

* Upgradability. New features of the software can be made available to current customers, generally through a software update subscription program, to allow the customer to utilize improved or added functions.

* Multipurpose. If the software is designed for use with industry-standard hardware, the customer easily can use that hardware with other software for purposes such as inventory management, word processing, and so on.

In keeping with new user requirements, a new standard for control system program development and support has been introduced by Allen-Bradley. The Integrated Program Development and Support System (IPDS) is a family of software products that provides an integrated environment for development, documentation and support of control programs on A-B programmable controllers.

IPDS is a multipackage concept, based on the interaction of A-B programmable controllers with:

* Personal computer products--IBM PC/XT, 5531 industrial computer, the new PC/AT, and Compaq Plus.

* Supermini-computers--DEC VAX 11/730, 11/750, 11/750, 11/785, and Micro VAX I

* Future Allen-Bradley industrial terminal products.

Use of the software in conjunction with any of these hardware devices will provide the control system user with the ability to:

* Program off-line. Create and edit a control program with the programming device disconnected from the programmable controller.

* Download. Transfer a control program from the programming device into the programmable controller.

* Upload. Transfer a control program from the programmable controller to the programming device.

* Document a control program with text commentary for archiving or program maintenance.

According to the company, introduction of IPDS packages will occur throughout 1985. Each development will build on capabilities of the release before it. The first release, scheduled for the second quarter, will be PLC-2 family software package designed for the IBM PC/XT personal computer. The package's capabilities will include off-line program development and editing for the entire PLC-2 family; download for 1770-SB and Data Highway; and program documentation.

For more information, circle E36.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Micros in Manufacturing
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Mar 1, 1985
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