Apr 29

Three Different Approaches to Safety PLC’s

Streat Automation has completed a number of safety PLC projects using Rockwell, SICK and Siemens PLC hardware.  Each of these suppliers has a different approach to implementing safety in a PLC controller.

Compact GuardLogix

Rockwell offer an ‘integrated’ solution called GuardLogix with both the process software and safety software integrated into a single project.  The safety IO is modular and can be connected to the GuardLogix processor over standard networks like Ethernet or ControlNet.

It’s possible to build a very large and complicated GuardLogix system with thousands of IO.  However the main disadvantage is cost, the ControlLogix version of the safety controller is reasonably expensive.  Rockwell have addressed this by releasing Guardlogix in the CompactLogix range of processors, which Rockwell calls a mid-range control system.

SICK Safety Controller

SICK offer a programmable safety controller called Flexi Soft, it is programmed with their Flexi Soft designer software which is available as a free download from the SICK website.  The SICK Flexi Soft safety controller isn’t a fully functioned PLC but it’s more than a programmable relay.  Programming a Flexi Soft is fairly simple and intuitive, its function block only with a limited range of safety only blocks. It’s possible to build a small to mid-sized system with SICK Flexi Soft, it’s a modular plug together system with a range of processors, communications modules and IO modules.  SICK have also implemented a distributed IO network called Flexi Line.

We’ve used the SICK safety PLC on a number of machine safety upgrade projects where the safety PLC has been retrofitted to the machine in addition to the main process PLC.  SICK Flexi Soft is a good fit for this type of project.

It’s worth mentioning the limitations of the Flexi Soft Ethernet communications module, it can be used for programming and you can read values from it via a PLC message instruction but you can’t talk to it directly from an HMI.

Siemens ET200S

The Siemens ET200S safety PLC is similar to the Rockwell Compact GuardLogix in terms of functionality.  It also offers integration of the process and safety code and has a range of IO modules available that can connect to the processor via PROFINET (industrial Ethernet).  The ET200S is programmed using Step 7 and is a very cost effective safety PLC solution.

If you want to know more about safety PLC’s please feel free to contact us.

Apr 22

Connecting your PLC to the internet using an eWON

 

eWON Logo

 

We have recently completed a project using the eWON Flexy to connect a PLC to a cloud based database.

The eWON Flexy is an industrial VPN router that connects a PLC to the internet via the Talk2M service.  Talk2M does all the hard work of linking the PLC to the internet and managing the remote access.  The connection to the PLC can be via serial or Ethernet with the connection to the internet via fibre/copper or wireless over wi-fi or a GSM modem.  The eWON has expansion slots that allow for a range of modules that provide the various different connection options.

The eWON Flexy supports the BASIC and JAVA programming languages and can also host web pages to provide a low cost HMI viewable from a standard web browser.  For the cloud database application we used BASIC script for the eWON to read data from the PLC and JAVA to write the data, via Talk2M, to the cloud based database.

 

eWON Flexy

 

Here’s the link to the eWON range of products and here is the link for Talk2M.

If you have an application where you want to remotely connect to a PLC so your ‘machine can talk’ then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Apr 01

Rockwell TechED 2016

Rockwell TechEDMike Sturgeon and Ieuan Attewell attended the 2016 edition of the Rockwell Automation TechED.  This year TechED was held over three days in March at the Pullman hotel in Auckland.

TechED is a mixture of labs, education and networking and if you have the chance; is well worth attending.

One of the standout sessions was the ‘Logix Roadmap (what’s new)’ where Rockwell announced the new L8x ControlLogix processors and a major update of the CompactLogix platform.

See you there next year!

 

Dec 02

Streats Ahead Touch Team

Streats Ahead Touch Team 2015Streat Automation is sponsoring a team in the Nunweek junior touch competition on Tuesday evenings.  They are doing really well and have won most of their games.

Nov 26

Welcome Daniel Lorimer

Daniel_Medium_20151126Streat Automation welcomes Daniel Lorimer who joins us as a graduate project engineer.  Daniel has just completed a bachelor of science majoring in computer science at the University of Canterbury.

Aug 31

Farewell to Morgan

Morgan WilsonWe wish Morgan all the best for the future.

Aug 03

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Unfortunately we have to say goodbye to Ciaran as he is returning to Ireland with his girlfriend to start a family. We wish him all the very best.

Nov 11

Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers Awards

The kids at Christchurch South Intermediate FutureinTech Technology group have been working on their project to help the wider community since late last year. After their successful scooter parking project last year they are now selling the product to other schools. This years’ project has found them spending a day at local company Dynamic Controls as well as working with Airways Electronics Technician Mark Beckett and Streat Automation Engineer Morgan Wilson on their E-Key Key Assist project. The team did an excellent job and came out with a Merit prize.

Sep 30

Welcome Mohamed

Mohamed Elwy

Mohamed Elwy

Streat Automation welcomes Mohamed Elwy who joins us from The University of Canterbury.

 

Nov 18

Speights Building – Old and New

Another update from Speights – The building is looking good old brick next to new glass.

 

The old and new sections of the Speights building in Dunedin, Otago

The old and new sections of the Speights building in Dunedin, Otago

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