Digital Fundamentals and Programmable Logic Controllers

Course Description
This course covers the fundamentals of digital logic and an introduction to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in a complex mechatronic system with a focus on the automation system SIMATIC S7-1200 and the appropriate programming software STEP7. Using computer simulation, students will learn the role PLCs play within a mechatronic system or subsystem. They will also learn basic elements of PLC functions by writing small programs and testing these programs on an actual system. Students will learn to identify malfunctioning PLCs, as well as to apply troubleshooting strategies to identify and localize problems caused by PLC hardware.

Course Goals
Upon completion of the course, students should:

  • Understand the role of programmable logic controllers in complex mechatronic systems, modules and subsystems.
  • Understand the flow of information in the system.
  • Understand and apply troubleshooting, maintenance and safety rules.

Course Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the role of programmable logic controllers within a given system or module.
  • Trace and describe the flow of information in a given mechatronic system or subsystem with a focus on the control function of PLCs in the system.
  • Describe the basic functions of PLCs.
  • Read, analyze and utilize the technical documents such as data sheets, timing diagrams, operation manuals, schematics.
  • Correctly localize, identify and document system malfunctions in or caused by PLC hardware, based upon the technical documentation.
  • Apply safety rules while working on the system.
  • Transfer the knowledge learned from one system to another system.