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cover story | controllers

Control logic
Controller manufacturers have made significant enhancements to controller
programming environments. Today, programmers are using generic tag names
to describe ladder logic instructions, simplifying programming, and making it easier
to convert design information to control programming.

rogrammers today are using gener-  Template-based design: a development
Key ic tag names to describe ladder logic technique that relies on the repeated use of a
concepts instructions. This feature enables predefined set of working logic circuits.
 Programmers today are designers to discard the referenc-
using generic tag names ing of ladder logic instructions using  Rule-based design: a development tech-
to describe ladder logic fixed memory addresses. New applications nique that requires rules for generating the
instructions. promise to automatically convert design infor- elements of logic circuits from root informa-
 This feature enables mation into ladder logic applications. Like flow tional sources.
designers to discard the chart programs, these applications have had lim-
referencing of ladder logic
instructions using fixed ited success creating mostly state-based ladder  Table-based design: a development tech-
memory addresses. logic applications. nique that requires rules for expanding, con-
 Some automatic code As a way to measure success, some manufac- tracting, and formatting data access and
generation schemes rely turers expected the application to regenerate the shift-register applications.
solely on a library of control applications automatically after someone
template-based design deliberately deleted the controllers entire program. Some automatic code generation schemes rely
Even if it were possible, would self-generating solely on a library of template-based design stan-
applications improve ongoing machine support? dards. Designers simply cut and paste grouped cir-
Some new applications have come close, but none cuits from the library to assemble needed control
have ever claimed real-world success for a large applications. Most designers would not think that
number of different types of machines. this copying process qualifies as a way to gener-
What are the real obstacles to automatically ate code automatically. Although machine suppli-
producing reliable control applications for many ers practice this approach regularly, manufacturers
types of machines and conveyors? If system strat- only realize small cost savings. Copying does not
egists do not recognize movement detection to improve operational support capabilities.
be the foundational building block for all control Strategists can recognize table, rule, and tem-
applications, designs will fail, meaning they were plate-based design methodologies by how each
unable to generate all needed logic from elemental approach produces machine controller logic. The
design information. table-based approach creates logic that is responsi-
ble for moving data among applications, systems,
Four design terms and stations.
Once strategists recognize the importance of
movement detection, they must focus on provid- Matrix structures help
ing applications that integrate associated trig- Designers use matrix structures to define: 1) the
gers using various design methodologies. The order of data, 2) data field formats, and 3) where
following terms help to describe various design interlocks will pass data to other logic modules.
methodologies: The table-based technique produces logic that is
nothing more than template-based logic for defin-
 Design spec sheet: a document that identi- ing data. The template method uses a logic rep-
fies the critical properties that are critical to a lication process to create applications that need
design methodology. connections to other logic. Controls designers
cover story | controllers

produce rule-based logic applications by constructing many

interdependent circuits using detailed design information
described in design spec sheets.
Design spec sheets are critical to all three of the design meth-
odologies. For rule-based designs, there is a separate spec sheet
for: 1) detecting an objects actuator, 2) specifying criteria for
operating mode circuits, 3) enabling an output device, and 4)
interlocking logic modules. The spec sheet used to detect an
objects actuator identifies the mechanical, electrical, and logi-
cal characteristics of an applied movement detection scheme.
The spec sheet used to specify operating mode criteria identi-
fies the conditions for constructing a mode-specific circuit. The
spec sheet used to enable an output device defines the oppos-
ing motion output signal, required operating modes, and special
control characteristics needed to activate and deactivate move-
ment. For table-based designs, a spec sheet defines data pattern
and structure requirements. For template-based designs, a spec
The ISA-TS soft starter (200 kW to 3 MW, up to 11 kV) is suitable for sheet defines the template type, required external input and out-
drives with a low starting current and/or a high starting torque. As
put signals, and the rules for replicating it.
compared to a frequency converter of similar rating the ISA-TS needs
just 50 % of the space. Reduce costs, energy consumption and space
Many control system strategists define control applications to
requirement with the new ISA-TS from IGEL. be hierarchical. Some strategists use a multi-layered pyramid to
represent the hierarchy of controller applications. The number of
IGEL Electric GmbH Industrieweg 13 15 48324 Sendenhorst Germany layers and assigned application type can differ among strategists.
Fon +49 (0)2526 9389-0 Fax +49 (0)2526 9389-22

Control system pyramid

input #28 at Figure 1 shows a control system pyramid. It is important to
recognize that the boundary shown between each layer does not
imply an exclusive interface. Applications in each layer have

DRIVEN TO PERFECTION access to certain types of information found in other layers. The
layered order shows the importance of each application. More
importantly, the pyramid shows a foundational trigger layer.
The trigger layer in the pyramid is a rule-based design tier that
Drives includes the circuits used to arm and fire one-shot signals. The
vo circuits in this layer are extremely important and the main topic

of this article. The next highest infrastructure layer is a rule-based


design layer that contains a defined set of circuits that enable

der Communication driver


System application

Data exchange
Serv Mot Diagnostic



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Figure 1: The figure shows a control system pyramid. It is
Hall 1 - 420
important to recognize that the definitive boundary shown
Germany: +49 2153 1398586 | Headquarters: +972 3 9273800 between each layer does not imply an exclusive interface. | www. Courtesy: Daniel Cardinal


external circuits and operating mode signals. The devices used to enable system applications in this
control layer is above the infrastructure layer. The layer. This layer is only applicable if resident cir-
control layer contains circuits produced using the cuits can examine one-shot signals enabled in the
rule-based design methodology. This layer includes trigger layer. The topmost communication driver
the circuits that are in command of mechanical layer is a template-based design layer that includes
movements, equipment behaviors, and associated the circuits used to establish and maintain commu-
user interfaces. The pyramid shows the diagnostic nications with upper-level system components.
layer to be above the control layer. This layer also Manufacturers will realize true cost savings
includes rule-based circuits designed to be compat- when support personnel can interact with all lay-
ible with the circuits in the control layer. ers of the control system pyramid. This is possible
As a result, the diagnostic layer has a seam- when support personnel have the improved abili-
less connection with the control layer. Above the ties to change design information to affect active-
diagnostic layer is the data exchange layer. This ly running programmable logic controller (PLC)
table-based design layer contains the circuits used programs. The real value to manufacturers comes Go Online
to control the variable nature of control and diag- from minimizing chaos by having support person-
Read other parts of the
nostic circuits. The need to translate system-pro- nel understand how to interact with all control sys- support-focused enterprise
vided information that affects the circuits found in tem applications. To do this, support personnel controls series at
this layer. When necessary, the data exchange layer must have the ability to change logic circuits by by
includes the circuits used to keep information syn- interacting with rules, design specifications, and searching support-focused
chronized with moving parts. table-based configuration information. ce enterprise controls.
The data exchange layer is the next high- - Daniel B. Cardinal works as an engineering Consider this...
est system-based application layer. The system consultant for Insyte Inc., implementing integrat-
application layer is a template-based design layer ed scheduling and part identification applications Are your support personnel
that contains the application circuits that collect in the automotive industry. Edited by Joy Chang, able to interact with all lay-
ers of the control system
and deliver system information. Designers place digital project manager, Control Engineering,
the circuits that interact with readers and other

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