Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
second training stage, trainees must repeat the
previous experience, but this time by looking to
the visualization console instead of the computer
screen. Hence, by taking the place of the PLC,
the trainee can understand its operation and the
associated I/O signals. It is also possible to let the
trainee feel the problems of control latency and
the consequences of sensors failures.
At the final stage, the trainee is invited to play
against the PLC in trying to control the sorting
system. A very simple program, sorting the pallets
one by one and without a buffer management, runs
in the PLC. Hence, a human can do better than the
PLC by using a more clever control. This shows
the role of PLC programmers, who do their best in
optimizing the cycle time of an automatic system.
Also shown is that a PLC running an optimized
program has better performances than a human.
However, a PLC cannot take into account unfore-
seen events. That is not the case of humans who
are much more adaptive than PLCs.
In 2009, several automation parties were
performed in Champagne-Ardenne district using
ITS PLC. They were an absolute success. All
participants enjoyed the experience - Figure 11.
Young people and adults worked together and
the “game style” of the application was found
much pleasant.
This kind of experiment contributes to expand
the technical and scientific culture to a large audi-
ence. Today, in France, young people is not much
interested in scientific and technical studies (Ou-
risson, 2002) and (Porchet, 2002). Automation
parties are expected to change this trend.
Third Story: First Practical
Courses in Automation
A similar approach - the same command and
visualization consoles wired to a PC running ITS
PLC -was followed in the first stage of practical
courses for students of the first year licentiate
degree in URCA's “packaging” department. Since
the main goal of these introductory practical
courses is to illustrate basic automation concepts,
the idea is to use ITS PLC for exemplifying and
training some elementary logic concepts such as
binary coding, Boolean logic, sequential logics,
Huffman's synthesis method, and so on. Yet, in
these courses, the students are required to fully
understand the ITS PLC interface to the real world,
that is to say, the role of the USB DAQ board
supplied with ITS PLC that, in some exercises, is
wired to the Human-Machine Interface consoles
(for manual control), and in some others, to a
PLC (for automatic control). As such, students
assessment includes ITS PLC related questions
such as “explain the role of the USB DAQ board
included in the ITS PLC training package” or “to
what can the DAQ board be wired and how?”.
By the end of the module, before the final
examination in December 2009, a preliminary
study intended to evaluate the interest and the
effective benefit of virtual systems for the train-
Figure 11. Introduction to automation with ITS PLC
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