What is Industrial Automation?
Industrial automation is the technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. For instance:
- Machinery, processes in factories, boilers, and heat-treating ovens
- Steering and stabilization of ships
- Aircraft and other applications and vehicles with reduced human intervention
All sorts of machinery are examples of automation. The common control types are On/Off which is discrete it’s either doing it or it’s not doing it. There’s PID (proportional integral derivative) which is interesting, and logical sequence or state system control – “moving from step A to step B” types of activities.
What does lab monitoring and instrumentation mean?
Lab monitoring and instrumentation is just the process of reading sensors to collect information from devices that define physical qualities.
For example, in a lab, if you’re experimenting and you need to know what the state is of the experiment at all times as you’re collecting data. In industry, an example would be if you need to be monitoring machinery and make sure they are working properly.
There are some examples of the type of settings information you may be gathering through monitoring or instrumentation.
What single board devices are available for starting automation?
Thousands of different single-board computers can be utilized in automation. Typically, these devices have an interface called ‘GPIO’ pins on them. These pins can, for example, be attached to and thus read and write various sensors.
Here are some examples of single-board devices:
- UDOO x86 II – Intel Celeron N3160 2.24Ghz
- UP Board – Intel Atom x5-78350
- LattePanda Delta 432 – Intel 8th Gen Celeron N4100
- Atomic Pi – Intel Atom x5-78350 quad-core with 2M Cache
What is a PID Controller?
Essentially a PID Controller creates a control/loop mechanism to use feedback for continuous correction. This means is it measures the performance of the control system.
- PID – AKA “Three-term controller”
- A control loop mechanism employing feedback for continuous correction
- For example, cruise control on a car.
What is a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)?
A PLC is a programmable logic controller – this is similar to Arduino.
- Ruggedized industrial digital computer
- Replaces hardwired relays
- Makes use of multiple digital and analog I/O
- Function as a real-time system collecting information and constantly correcting operations
- Similar o Remote Terminal Units except RTUs do not have control loops or algorithms
- Often networked together with other PLC and SCADA systems
- One of three common Industrial Control Systems with SCADA and Distributed Control System (DCS)
What communication libraries are available for Delphi & C++ Builder?
- AsyncPro – https://github.com/TurboPack/AsyncPro
- ComPort Library – https://sourceforge.net/projects/comport/
- WinSoft ComPort – https://winsoft.sk/comport.htm
- TciaComPort – https://www.mestdagh.biz/
- ZylSerialPort – https://www.zylsoft.com/serialport.htm
Moreover, when you install Delphi and C++ Builder these components will be installed:
- Indy Components
What is Visuino?
Visuino or Visuino Pro is visual programming for Arduino and PLC. It is built by Boian Mitov who is the founder of Mitov Software.
Besides Visuino, Mitov Software offers a set of components and libraries like:
- ControlLab for industrial automation components
- SignalLab for digital signal processing (DSP)
- LogicLab, Plotlab, and more
Visuino Pro is designed around the additional use case as additional functionality that comes with programmable logic controllers. It also has the ability that you can see the code that it’s going to generate back and forth.
- Graphical development environment for Arduino
- Automatically generates Arduino code, and programs the boards
- Direct mapping of software and hardware components
- Provides uniform communication over serial, or socket-based channels
- Includes serial port, socket communication, and MQTT components compatible with CommunicationLab for Delphi & C++ Builder
- Includes Modbus components
You can watch this workshop and learn about Visuino Pro by the creator of the Visuino Pro, Boian Mitov
For further information, the video below from CodeRage Xi goes into a lot more depth on automation and control.