Equipment Operation Software
Working for an equipment manufacturer, I developed automation software solutions for various company products. The systems that I implemented involved programmable logic controllers, HMI touchscreens, and interaction with low voltage instruments. These systems enabled the machine to be easy and safe to operate, which minimized maintenance and training of end users. Some mechanical components of the equipment include powerful pumps, turbine blowers, heaters, and conveyor belts. Safety and reliability were the primary focus when I designed and coded this system.
Programmable Logic Controller: I designed, implemented and tested all PLC code, written in STL, for the use in these machines. The PLC was the brain or server of the machine, making all decisions and simply informing any connected interfaces (such as the HMI) of it’s current state. The PLC code was modularized so that different types of machines could re-use the same code. Some of the modules written were the safety alarm, VFD drive, auto-fill water level, and auto-start modules. Each PLC that was received needed to be configured specifically for a given machine, and I configured, inspected, and load-tested every PLC.
HMI TouchScreen: An interface to the PLC, the HMI touchscreen was designed to easily enable end-users to operate the machine. The manufacturer of the touchscreen used propriatary software to create graphical user interfaces with ready to use controls, such as buttons, input boxes, etc. However, a unique look was requested and I re-designed the entire suite of GUI controls. Using Photoshop and Illustrator, I custom-made skins for windows, buttons, text boxes, alarm displays, graphical charts, and blinking status notifier controls. This resulted in a much more modern look, and easier to operate interface. Along with designing the actual interface, I also implemented various macros using the built-in scripting language to add additional functionality.
Instrumentation: My duties included every aspect of instrumentation. There are various instruments used throughout the equipment: pressure, temperature, resistivity, and flow sensors. Each of these instruments needed to be calibrated, configured and tested prior to installation. I primarily used two types of sensors: 4-20 mA and 0-10 voltage sensors, and would assist in the wiring and connections to the PLC.
Support: Troubleshooting and providing end-user support was also one of my duties. This involved training or correcting problems over the phone, doing field service to troubleshoot and replace faulty components, and working with third party vendors to implement solutions for our end customer. I also provided user manuals and facility requirement documentation for every machine, working along side co-workers in order to gather, organize and compile technical information.
As of December 2014, there are over 100 machines with this PLC/HMI system being used reliabily in electronic manufacturing facilities world-wide.