Part of the requirements in a junior-level measurements & instrumentation course (for an Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program) includes an end-of-semester design project. One possible project is the design and implementation of a conveyor control system. For this project, the conveyor simulator is pre-fabricated and equipped with a 24-volt DC motor mounted directly to a plastic spindle for driving the conveyor belt, a freely rotating plastic spindle for the opposite side of the conveyor belt, and two Plexiglas sides. Three IR reflective sensors (one in the middle and one at each end) are used to detect the position of an object on the conveyor. The objective of the project is for students to design the software (using LabVIEW) and hardware interfacing electronics for the conveyor control system such that it mimics the operation of a conveyor with beginning, stamping, and ending stations. Students are required to use a National Instruments data acquisition system with analog I/O and digital I/O capability. This paper provides a detailed listing of the engineering requirements for the system, the functional test procedure for verifying proper operation of the system, and results. In addition, since this conveyor control system is also a lab project for a sophomore-level PLC course, results are provided for the PLC-based control system along with an assessment based on the comparison of the advantages and disadvantages for PC vs. PLC control. Recommendations are included to help ensure student success on the project. The PC-based control system project has been found to be an effective end-of-semester project for two reasons. First, it integrates both hardware and software design while utilizing information covered from prerequisite courses. Second, due to the slow time response characteristics of this system, PC-based control is suitable for this application.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings|
|State||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes