Controlling a DC Motor via PC?

Hey guys,

I’m looking for some guidance regarding Arduino.
We have a machine at work which my boss wants to “automate” ourselves.
Its a cutting machine with two bandsaws, one at each end and you can manually adjust the lenght of the piece you are cutting by turning a crank.
The automation part would involve a motor turning the crank for us, but he wants it all to be done through a PC locally and/or via LAN.
Basically I input a number on my PC (via some sort of GUI) and the motor would turn an “x” amount of times to reach the desired lenght.
For example: I input 50 and the motor turns 5 times, I input 55 and the motor turns 5 and a half times etc.

Since I’m new to this I was wondering if an arduino board would help us achieve this, and if so, what exactly would we need (which board, software etc.) My boss initially sugested a PLC for this but I think it would be overkill for what would seem like a simple job.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A few things to think about other than the technical issues:

  • Have you done a risk assessment on the machine? I case of any accident the person responsible for the modification will be liable
  • Have you given maintenance ant thoughts? What will happen when the person doing the design quits the company? Is there enough documentation for another person to take over.
  • Costs for industrial machinery is not so much investment but standstill costs. What is the estimated mtbf? How is the estimated trouble shooting time? What is the delivery time on parts ext?
  • What proficiency do the persons who do the modification need (electrical, mechanincal etc)

Given these points the best solution is often let an acknowledged consultant do the design and programming of a plc

From a technical point of view it should be a simple task to either use a stepper motor or a dc motor ith a shaft encoder. What must be done is estimate the torque and speed requirements for the motor before actually selecting one

A PCL is the right thing.

For a possible dangerous situation, using an Arduino and see what happens will not be the right thing to do.

Thanks guys! If a PLC is the way to go then I'll let him know. Unfortunetly I don't know much other than what I've already posted since I wont be handling/programming it myself. I'm just tasked with finding a simple solution so thats why I'm aproaching every angle.

There are examples of using an PCL to track the sun (using a motor to set angle) for solar panels. That is very close to what you want to do.