Go Down

Topic: Arduino for industrial automation (Read 13 times) previous topic - next topic

strantor

Any reason why Arduino seems (to me) to be relegated to hobbyists and science fair projects? I'm a technician working in industrial automation, and for the last few PLC installs I have done, I have been thinking how much cheaper and better it would be to install an Arduino. I have been reluctant to approach my supervisor with the idea because i fear the scenario where I mention it, he looks it up, sees nothing but "how to make an automatic home plant waterer",  laughs at me, and never considers anything I say again. Is there really any reason why a 25$ arduino should not be trusted to do the same job as a 2500$ PLC* (that is, control a multi-million dollar piece of machinery which could kill/maim operators if it doesn't function properly)? I really want to thrust arduino into industry and I dream of the day when I can program in real code instead of an inefficient archaic relay logic graphical interface designed for semitards**.

*The only things that  I can think of:
1. it resets every time you download to it, which in some settings could alter vital external processes
2. you can't easily monitor I/O from the laptop and force bits high/low
3. No true analog outputs without going out of your way with A/D converter
4. incompatible with the 24V standard used in industry
5. Not (to my knowledge) officially approved for use in industrial/hazardous environment = the kicker I'm sure ...(WHY NOT?)

** Yes, many PLCs these days can be programmed in a text-based interface, but the support for the programming language is not nearly as extensive as for Wiring, and you have to take Very expensive classes to be taught it (taught is a joke, really; the classes are a couple days long for a few hours). So far the only one I have encountered is the Allen Bradley Compactlogix which seems like a weird fusion of Basic
and relay logic.

Sorry for rambling; i know I blurred my point. Basically I just want to replace a PLC with an arduino and I want somebody here to tell me that it's perfectly O.K. to do so....

retrolefty

Quote
Sorry for rambling; i know I blurred my point. Basically I just want to replace a PLC with an arduino and I want somebody here to tell me that it's perfectly O.K. to do so....


If it's your plant on your property that is one thing, but if it's your employers site I could think of a ton of reasons why they would not want an Arduino to replace a PLC. I worked in a oil refinery for 27 years before retirement. We had hundreds of PLC subsystems in dozens of plants. PLC systems are rated for for the area classifications used in industry and the Arduino doesn't carry such classifications. It could probably be rated for such, but someone would have to spend the money to gain such equipment approvals. Besides the Arduino is really not a system solution, but rather just a component part. You talked about training. Does Arduino offer training course such that their personnel software and hardware, present and future. can be made qualified to work on them?

It's not that an Arduino based system could not do the same functions as a PLC, but rather that PLC are total systems that have been approved and utilized for industrial use for decades. Getting an Arduino designed system installed into an industrial sitting are pretty slim. At my refinery it wasn't up to a technician or even supervisor to select or bless a given system installation, rather a refinery engineering group would have to approve and sign off on such a request. And believe me if the hardware didn't come from a company they had prior experience with it would wouldn't even get a look at.

Lefty

Graynomad

#2
Feb 02, 2011, 06:54 am Last Edit: Feb 02, 2011, 06:56 am by Graynomad Reason: 1
Quote
25$ arduino should not be trusted to do the same job as a 2500$ PLC

No chance there, the PLC costs that much for a reason.

However that's not to say that you couldn't harden an Arduino to be suitable and come up with something at a price point somewhere in between.

But in terms of getting that into a real industrial installation, no chance I would say, too many big boys have that market sown up.

______
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Inprogress


Quote
25$ arduino should not be trusted to do the same job as a 2500$ PLC

No chance there, the PLC costs that much for a reason.

However that's not to say that you couldn't harden an Arduino to be suitable and come up with something at a price point somewhere in between.

But in terms of getting that into a real industrial installation, no chance I would say, too many big boys have that market sown up.

______
Rob



I've worked in the auto industry, apart from seeing a industry throwing away money like there is no tomorrow, there's too many players in the field. PLC is robust and have been used for decades, which means if you want it recognised as a standard you will have to run it for at least 5 years in some application, plus how its robustness wit regard to variables like power failures, nosy fingers and screw drivers, high repetitive functions, etc etc. I have also been playing around with the idea of using Arduino for PLC-like applications and my thoughts were applying it to small scale automation scenarios, or non-critical applications where a limb wont be lost.
"The really amazing thing is how many people are successful with their Arduino projects considering the fact that so many of them do not have a technical background.  A lot of them seem to try, and succeed with, projects that no sane engineer would even attempt." - floresta commenting on the proper use of LCD displays

Graynomad

#4
Feb 02, 2011, 08:17 am Last Edit: Feb 02, 2011, 09:18 am by Graynomad Reason: 1
Quote
I have also been playing around with the idea of using Arduino for PLC-like applications and my thoughts were applying it to small scale automation scenarios, or non-critical applications where a limb wont be lost.

I'm designing something similar now (a monitoring and control system) but for small non-critical uses as you say. I would say what I'm doing is maybe "commercial" strength. I'm not even thinking about replacing PLCs, maybe 20 years ago :)

_____
Rob
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Go Up