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Old November 4th, 2009, 10:55 AM   #1
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ChrisOfMaryland is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland
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Structured Text for automating experiments? I'm new...

Hi, everybody, I just joined and this is my first post.
I want to program Rockwell ControlLogix controllers to automate experiments, some of them long term, some of them on the factory floor. I would like to use Structured Text for as much of this as is practical.
I'm a scientist and already do programming in a few different text languages. Of course the choice of language is partly a matter of personal taste. Mine runs strongly towards text. I don't know yet how practical a fit this will be for PLCs and automated experiments.
PCs were great for this years ago, but they keep getting messier, less like personal computing engines and more like office equipment. A PC running FORTH or C on an 80286 processor under DOS used to be easy and fairly reliable, but those days are gone. This year I used LabVIEW & Windows for a big project and it was just a mess.
I also used relay ladder logic in the early 1970's, and it was a lot of work, not a pleasant way to program. They tell me it is better today, and I will probably try it and possibly like it.
We have engineers here already using ControlLogix, so I have a borrowed Logix5563 in a rack, and an RSLogix 5000 license, and my first structured text program now reads a photodiode voltage, flips two DC outputs depending on its level, and formats a string message including the voltage. So far, so good.
I'm going to post another question about reference books and documents for Structured Text.
What advice can you give me?
Is there anything about what I want to do that sounds dumb?
Somewhere months ago, before I got into this, I heard something somewhere about scientists adopting PLCs and Structured Text. I wish I was in contact with them, if they exist. Anybody heard of this?
And, I've also heard that I should be looking at embedded computing rather than PLCs, but I didn't get much more than that. Can anybody comment?
Thanks to anybody who felt like reading all this!
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Old November 4th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #2
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JesperMP is offline
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Structured Text is great for math computing and mass data manipulation.
ST can also be used for programming sequences, but is more cumbersome for this purpose than the other languages that are available for you in the CLX PLC.
I say go ahead, but look into learning how to use the other languages as well.
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