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Old June 19th, 2017, 12:37 AM   #1
RowdyDoc
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Cross-reference ControlLogix Tag Info from HMI

Hi all,

I have a concept I have implemented with other PLCs whereby I use alias variables in the PLC to expose cross-reference information to the HMI.

The main purpose is to link physical I/O to a functional tagname (eg NIU3Rack3Slot5Ch12 to TI1101.PV) but it can be used for other purposes such as external interlocks (process interlocks).

The whole point of this is to not have to "configure" this information in two different places (as this becomes an issue of reliability as well as the additional per-point engineering time). It is also the mechanism for extracting other info from the PLC tag to expose this in the HMI

The concept is:
1. Process tag is an alias to the hardware I/O tag
2. Publish the PLC tag export (on change, intervals or on update request from HMI)
3. Build relational database from the PLC tag export to allow linking of I/O to process & vice-versa(on some systems the OPC server can perform this role)
4. When I/O module is selected in HMI it shows detail of the allocated process tags per channel (associated tag, description)
5. When process tag is selected in the HMI it shows the associated hardware I/O channel associated with the tag

Now to the specifics.
I am trying to formulate an approach with a ControlLogix and Citect HMI.
The ControlLogix has the alias feature and this is exported with satisfactory info in the tag export to csv.
The primary question I have is whether there is any other way to generate this csv export other than manually opening up Studio 5000 and exporting the tags (eg API or something else)?
The secondary question is whether anyone else has done something similar with ControlLogix and whether you have any good tips.
Cheers.
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Old June 19th, 2017, 02:00 PM   #2
Paully's5.0
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I typically gather all project data within an Excel spreadsheet, after all you can't start coding until you do some design work.

Excel then serves as the central means to link it all together. VBA takes care of a lot of the development legwork. It will create the tags needed for the PLC as well as the SCADA platform. It will export tag attributes to a SQL database so the SCADA system can show that information on device pop-up windows and such.

All of it requires manual intervention to import the created files to the PLC program, or to the SCADA platform. Database must get setup to accept Excel pushing the data to it...etc.

Not completely integrated but does cut development time. A different approach to what you have in mind but might produce similar results.
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Old June 21st, 2017, 01:42 AM   #3
RowdyDoc
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Thanks for your comments. Definitely worked in similar ways to what you describe for the development work and also tried to maintain this sort of thing as a living system (with limited success I admit).

My focus is on an approach that minimises the manual intervention.

Have been looking at an OPC product called TopServer in the last couple of days. Has some very interesting features for ControlLogix that may help.
Things like how it monitors the PLC to detect downloads/online changes and triggers an automatic update of the tag database (via upload from the PLC I think) after this occurs.
TopServer also exposes it's tag parameters to the OPC client so maybe replacing the requirement for a database to hold this info.
Still needs some more investigation...
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Old June 24th, 2017, 01:06 AM   #4
RowdyDoc
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Hmm - frustrating how you cannot alias a structure member to another tag or member...
This was my main concept for how to implement the proposed functionality.
Now I am having to look at building AOIs just for the purpose of linking the module channels to the process tags - that way I may be able to alias a complete UDT to a UDT member (same type) of a larger structure (but it will still result in me having to break up what should be a single UDT into separate part UDTs
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