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Hi, my name is Josh. I created a PLC ladder logic to run a motor drive to operate a cylinder. AMA!

Josh Durden
Jul 14, 2017

I studied Plc ladder logic and I built a setup that ran a program I created to operate a hydraulic cylinder.

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How long did it take you from concept to completion?

Jul 14, 1:01PM EDT0

It took about a week and a half. Most of the time was taken trying to work out the kinks. Trying to get the ramp up speed and timers just right took some extra time.

Jul 14, 2:04PM EDT0

Any advice for beginners?

Jul 14, 5:15AM EDT0

If you study PLC programming the program normally starts with AC and DC theory, take notes and pay good attention. A good comprehension of these theories helps when trying to layout a PLC program of the software. Even though there is a lot of studying in books, the hands on work, applying the book knowledge makes it worth it.

Jul 14, 1:02PM EDT0

Do you know some tutorials?

Jul 15, 7:27AM EDT0

What does it make the cylinder do?

Jul 14, 12:09AM EDT0

I am using the cylinder to just extend to knock off the ping pong ball. It was just a fun way for me to apply my knowledge and see it in action. But in an actual application, it would make the cylinder extend for 10 seconds and then retract. It would maybe be used for stopping products on an assembly line to allow for painting, then retracting when it's time for the next product. 

Jul 14, 1:03AM EDT0

What other projects have you created before?

Jul 13, 9:58PM EDT0

I have worked on a project, but haven't completed, a program that controls a few lights. The project will turn different color lights at different steps of the process. It involves some of the same equipment I have finished but the focus would be on the control of the lighting system.

Last edited @ Jul 14, 1:04AM EDT.
Jul 14, 12:55AM EDT0

Why didn' you finish?

Jul 15, 6:28AM EDT0

What is PLC Ladder logic?

Jul 13, 7:12PM EDT0

It is basically a schematic diagram that someone creates on Programming software. It is called ladder logic because the layout looks like a ladder.  On the program, you can insert start and stop buttons, timer symbols, and motor symbols. You can arrange them in the way you want the equipment to respond.

Jul 14, 12:49AM EDT0

Thank you for explanation. 

Jul 15, 7:00AM EDT0

Is your application a new one, an improvement on a previous application, or did you just do it to see if you can?

Jul 12, 7:04AM EDT0

It was a little of both. I learned how to use a PLC program to run the Ac motor. But I wanted to see what else I could make it do with just one click of a button.

Jul 12, 5:14PM EDT0

What inspired you to create this project?

Jul 12, 1:45AM EDT0

Well, I learned how to create a PLC program to run a motor, but I wanted to see what all I could control with just the click of a button. So it was just something for fun and satisfy my curiosity.

Jul 12, 5:12PM EDT0

Are you satisfied with your work?

Jul 15, 6:41AM EDT0

If I want to start and learn, where do I start?

Jul 11, 11:54PM EDT0

To learn how to do PLC Programming, you would probably have to go to a Technical school or a University. In my opinion, it was fun to learn and it took me about a year and a half, or so to learn about programming. 

Jul 12, 5:10PM EDT0

Do you intend to market it as an industrial product?

Jul 11, 1:55PM EDT0

No. This is not really a product that is used for a particular purpose. Where this would apply in a much larger scale is using a computer software to extend and retract on a timer. For instance, if you had a conveyor belt that had desks that needed to be painted and you need to stop the belt long enough to paint the desk. The cylinder would extend and stop the desk from moving forward and when it is finished being painted the cylinder retracts and the desk moves on down the line. There are probably other things, but that is just an example of what I think it would accomplish.

Jul 11, 7:49PM EDT0

Where can one learn bout PLC ladder logic?

Jul 11, 11:56AM EDT0

I attended a local Technical college to study in this field. If one wanted to go farther, you would check out Electrical or Mechanical Engineering depending on the route you desire to take.

Jul 11, 7:42PM EDT0

Do you have a degree?

Jul 15, 6:24AM EDT0

Was this for a hobby, a school project, or a work related project?

Jul 11, 8:47AM EDT0

Well, it was a little bit of all three. I studied the subject in school to get a job in the field. But it was also a little bit of a hobby. I like taking stuff apart and see how they work and put them back together or make the item do something different. I have also messed up a few things in pursuit of my hobby.

Jul 11, 7:40PM EDT0

Speaking about you job, what is it related to?

Jul 15, 6:46AM EDT0

What exactly does it do for the hydraulics?

Jul 11, 3:14AM EDT0

Well the PLC program causes the motor drive to activate the hydraulics. The hydraulics are only to extend and retract the cylinder. When the motor drive ramps up to 60 hertz it extends the cylinder for 10 sec and then retracts.

Jul 11, 8:03PM EDT0

How long did the project take you to complete?

Jul 11, 2:25AM EDT0

It took a total of two weeks to get the bugs worked out. It would take that long to repeat. Just the first time it was a bit of little trial and error to get it right.

Jul 11, 7:35PM EDT0

Is this your business or a hobby?

Jul 10, 9:23PM EDT0

It is in my field of business. But I project that I created was just a hobby for fun. I was just trying to apply some of what I know into something I could see work.

Jul 11, 12:01AM EDT0

Was it successful?

Jul 15, 6:47AM EDT0

I'm not very tech savvy. Can you explain this to me on a 5th grade level?

Jul 10, 2:43PM EDT0

There are wires that physically connect from the computer to the motor drive and to the cylinder. But to get all of those things to work together, I had to create a program on software to run these different pieces of equipment. The program, which is called PLC ladder logic, has symbols for stop and start buttons and timers. Of course, you begin by pushing the start button and then the timer counts until 10 seconds then starts the next step of my project. And then the motor runs for 30 seconds before it activates the cylinder to extend and knock off the ping pong ball. The stop button is for an emergency stop. If you push the stop button at any point then everything stops. It is a lot of work put into something that I created just to apply what I know into something I could watch work. I hope that was helpful.

Jul 11, 12:12AM EDT0

What inspire you to create it?

Jul 10, 10:09AM EDT0

Honestly, it was just something I started for fun. I had all these materials and equipment and I just had to see something I could do with my knowledge. The process that I created is really overdone just to knock off a ping pong ball. But all the things the process goes through with just a push of a button is cool.

Jul 10, 11:59PM EDT0

How much did you invest to this project?

Jul 15, 7:19AM EDT0

How long have you studied PLC Ladder Logic?

Jul 10, 9:31AM EDT0

I have studied PLC Ladder Logic for about three years. I really enjoy that field of study.

Jul 10, 11:57PM EDT0

What do you like it for?

Jul 15, 7:39AM EDT0

What is your educational background?

Jul 10, 6:53AM EDT1

I studied and have associate degree's in Industrial Systems Technology and Electronic Technology.

Jul 10, 11:56PM EDT0

Do you have friends who help you when you get stuck?

Jul 10, 6:45AM EDT0

Yes. I have several friends to call, I also saved my notebooks from college. And I stay in touch with my former professor if I needed any further help.

Jul 10, 11:55PM EDT0

That's perfect. I also need a piece of good advice while working on something. It really helps and supports.

Jul 15, 6:40AM EDT0

Did you go to college to learn about PLC ladder logic?

Jul 9, 11:30PM EDT0

Yes. I studied this at a technical college.

Jul 10, 11:44PM EDT0

Is there a need for this in some kind of industry?

Jul 9, 9:24PM EDT0

Yes. It also extends into robotics. It is used for automated equipment, and can even be monitored and adjusted from work a laptop at home. 

Jul 10, 11:47PM EDT0

Can you explain why you came up with the idea of applying PLC Ladder Logic to hydraulic cylinders?

Jul 9, 7:56PM EDT0

Well, I started out by just using a computer to simulate the different programs and I wanted to mess around with it. I use the program to activate the motor then the cylinders. I started just trying to knock anything off, but the hole in the metal holder is just small enough to hold a ping pong ball. I tried to knock it into a cup. So it was just something for fun to play with.

Jul 10, 11:53PM EDT0

Is there any person who did the same thing as you?

Jul 15, 6:52AM EDT0

Are you part of any message boards or online groups on the subject?

Jul 9, 7:47PM EDT0

No. Not at this time, though I do love the subject it is very interesting what you can do in PLC programing.

Jul 10, 11:48PM EDT0

What project are you going to do after this one?

Jul 9, 7:44PM EDT0

I haven't thought about my next project yet. But I am open to ideas.

Jul 10, 11:49PM EDT0

Wish you good luck in searching. 

Jul 15, 7:13AM EDT0
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