University: Jordan University of Science and Technology "J.U.S.T."
Title: Let's Play Automation
This is an Educational Framework intended to attract the attention of the students towards the field of Automation by using of Entertaining means that ensure the Enjoyment, Challenge, and Practice to be side by side all the way around. This will be a growing project in which i will keep adding new Items and Ideas to achieve new objectives among the Automation's Students.
LabVIEW can be used to create what is called a "Software/Hardware Control Approach" through the usage of OPC and DataSockets, which i believe is something that will ensure the Students to use LabView Environment, learn its modules , and present their skills in writing VIs that will interact with the "Game" that is assigned to them.
All LabVIEW modules and Hardware Devices can be used directly / Indirectly to interact with this Environment.
Project Over View:
The following diagram illustrates the structure this project is using.
As shown above, The main core of this structure is the usage of OPC Servers, which are widely used in Automation, to control the traffic of data among the 'Frame Work Loop' in which integration between multiple stages is intended and applied. This frame work consists of growing number of sub-items or ideas that can be interchanged and re-allocated to suite the objectives at a certain level. Each 'Game' can be 'Played' in a Stand Alone, or Networked Mode. As I am interested in using LabVIEW and MATLAB in the Automation Lab, OPC will be the key element in providing the links between this framework and the stated programs allowing a Software Control approach to be implemented and tested.As for LabVIEW integration, Data Sockets will act as the gate to this framework, and you are encouraged to use your skills to write a VI that can interact with the 'Game' that is assigned to you.As for MATLAB, OPC ToolBox will do the job when it comes to interact with this framework. PLC Coder can also be used to generate the PLC Program that will be downloaded later on to the PLC device responsible of controlling the 'Game' in hand.As you can notice from the above statements, having multiple 'games' assigned to different groups of students- that can be linked to each other as if each group is programming one plant in a factory to produce a certain product- allows tutor to present new concepts as required and the most important to present the concept of 'Industrial networking', i.e. Using a S7-300 PLC that is connected via MPI interface to the 'Game' controller, and designing an OPC Server to it while a second group will have a Festo PLC mini-controller that is connected via RS232 with its corresponding OPC server is designed, and so on,...After the stand alone phase is tested and debugged, whether the game controller is a software program or a real PLC device or Industrial Controller, the Networked mode can be implemented allowing the Loop to be closed, and the 'games' to interact to each other.Now, to deal with this framework as a real educational framework, the idea of assessment is presented by another 'game' that will monitor the whole games in the loop and determines the time each 'game' needs to handle its task and that will determine the delay source within the loop and codes/programs can be revised for further optimization.To add a flavor of excitement and challenge, the same setup can be existed in multiples and the least time needed by a group of students to achieve the same task using the same game loop will announce the winners, and grades can be assigned accordingly.To conclude, this may benefit the students who are interested in Automation, and for the estimation of this idea it is your turn to tell me what you think.