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Old February 24th, 2018, 07:17 AM   #1
Aabeck
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One HMI To Multiple PLC's Best Practice

I am designing the control for a system of processing tanks, each with it's own PLC and controlled by one PC running AdvancedHMI. This is the first system like this I am designing that will consist of a few identical cells and one HMI.

My first thought is to have all the PLC's use the same exact program, just have it's own IP address - something like xxx.xxx.0.1 for tank #1, ...0.2 for tank #2, etc. - but each PLC using the same exact tags and I/O.

I am thinking this would be easier later when adding more tanks (now there is one tank being tested, but depending on demand there will be 4 to 8 tanks eventually)

Should I go with this idea, or have each PLC use different tags so as not to be confusing? I would like to know of any problems or ideas others may have come across doing this.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 08:13 AM   #2
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What type of PLC? Why does each tank need it's own PLC?

I would probably look at a single PLC + AdvancedHMI + a Modbus TCP controller at each location.

Modbus TCP Controller cost $200.00
PLC $1200.00 - $2500.00

Just a thought!
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Old February 24th, 2018, 08:37 AM   #3
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I will be using ControlLogic PLC's.

Each tank is to be an isolated cell so one can be pulled out for service without interfering with the others and for additional tanks to be added after the first 4 as needed - just controlled by one operator station.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 08:56 AM   #4
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If the PLC's are Modbus TCP capable with Suppanel (an Android app) the thing is as simple as create the Panel for the first tank then clone the panel with a new name, then change the IP in the connection control and voila ! the Panel for the second Tank is working.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 09:18 AM   #5
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Ife,

That basically is what I was planning with Ethernet, clone the panels except for the IP address, and copy and paste HMI screens - I was just wondering if anyone that has done something similar had some problems they encountered.
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Last edited by Aabeck; February 24th, 2018 at 09:40 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 09:40 AM   #6
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I have done something similar using Omron CP1L PLC's and a Maple Systems touchscreen. The copy and paste screen function isn't quite that simple using that combination because each object on the pasted screen needs to be edited to change which PLC it looks at.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 09:44 AM   #7
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I haven't played with Advanced HMI yet, but I've done what you describe using other systems.

If I were doing this in something even as basic as a Panelview, I'd have one replaceable parameter (#1) that I would pass to a screen with the topic name of the PLC as that parameter.Thus all the tags on the screen would be linked as [#1]MyTagxxx.

There'd me a "Master Menu" to pick a "Main Menu" for which Line/(PLC) the user is entering, and that would set the parameter for all screens off the Main Menu.

I know that FTView, iFix, Wonderware all have some method of passing parameters or "substitution tags" or somesuch to a screen so that when a valve object opens a faceplate, there is only one instance of that faceplate, not a zillion.

Surely AdvanceHMI has a similar feature. As I don't know AHMI, so I don't know the mechanics of how tags are linked, so cannot advise you further.

Good luck.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 10:04 AM   #8
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Mendonsy,

In AdvancedHMI each screen has an Ethernet driver (or multiple ones) that all objects look at for it's tag

All I would have to do is change the IP on the driver for each screen, if they end up with 8 tanks I would paste 8 identical screens only having to change the IP address on that screen's driver
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Old February 24th, 2018, 10:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aabeck View Post
Mendonsy,

In AdvancedHMI each screen has an Ethernet driver (or multiple ones) that all objects look at for it's tag

All I would have to do is change the IP on the driver for each screen, if they end up with 8 tanks I would paste 8 identical screens only having to change the IP address on that screen's driver
Should work fine, I do this with the PV+ too.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 11:46 AM   #10
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You can change the IP address programmatically in AHMI.
That way, develop 1x screen only ��. Much cleaner & more like other system that allow parameters/indirect tags etc.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 12:02 PM   #11
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lostcontrol,

I wasn't aware of that, it sounds like an easier way than the multiple screens I was planning.

I will check into doing that.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 02:35 PM   #12
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There is a technique yo doing so (I think), I’ll have a look & postback when I get a chance.
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Old February 24th, 2018, 05:56 PM   #13
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I dug around the AdvancedHMI forum and found this:

http://advancedhmi.com/forum/index.p....msg759#msg759

The IP address of a driver can be changed after it is stopped.
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Old February 27th, 2018, 05:00 AM   #14
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Are micro PLCs an option? Micro PLCs with flexible, 'just-enough' control may enable OEMs to differentiate their equipment, particularly in stand-alone machines. By developing a range of stand-alone machines using the same controller platform, OEMs can reduce design time and lower their costs.
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Old February 27th, 2018, 08:17 AM   #15
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Allen,

I built a pair of 'sister' machines years ago for an automotive supplier - they were plates on a conveyor that indexed 2" then 3 torque drivers placed screws in to a certain "screw flange to part surface" height.

I built the machines using Crouzet micro-PLC's and they ran fine, even putting out more parts per hour than the customer was asking for and at a better rejection rate than demanded.

BUT - when the customer opened the control panel and saw the 'toys' running them he had major problems. He complained about every aspect of the operation after that and called me back a couple months later, handed me 2 MicroLogic's with 32IO (the machines were running on 10 IO) and demanded I replace the 'toys' and rewrite the program for the ML's. (On the positive side he did pay for the conversion and not demand it be done free)

Maybe if someone made a micro-PLC about the size of a fixed SLC500?
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