Research Article Open Access

Automating a Festo Manufacturing Machine with an Allen-Bradley PLC

Praneel Chand1 and Joven Sepulveda2
  • 1 Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand
  • 2 Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Abstract

Industry equipment such as machinery utilising Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) become outdated and obsolete over time. Support for older machines and controllers becomes limited and they become incompatible with new computer operating systems. In the end, they are no longer used by industry. However, obsolete machines can be refurbished and used for teaching or demonstration purposes. Hence, this study presents the reconditioning of a Festo manufacturing machine by replacing the old Festo PLC with an Allen-Bradley PLC so that it’s compatible with the mini-industrial network in the mechatronics lab. The machine is a Festo MPS storage and retrieval station featuring three axis electromechanical gantries, a gripper, DC motors with encoder feedback, reed switches and a pneumatic actuator. The I/O connections from these components to the old PLC is traced and a new interface to the Allen-Bradley PLC is established while keeping connectivity with the old Festo PLC for legacy control. This upgrade allows the machine to be used for student training in the automation courses. It also leaves an option for utilising the old Festo PLC if needed. A sample program has been developed to test and verify correct interfacing and operation of the Allen-Bradley PLC and Festo storage and retrieval station.

Journal of Mechatronics and Robotics
Volume 5 No. 1, 2021, 23-32

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3844/jmrsp.2021.23.32

Submitted On: 11 August 2021 Published On: 26 November 2021

How to Cite: Chand, P. & Sepulveda, J. (2021). Automating a Festo Manufacturing Machine with an Allen-Bradley PLC. Journal of Mechatronics and Robotics, 5(1), 23-32. https://doi.org/10.3844/jmrsp.2021.23.32

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Keywords

  • Manufacturing
  • Automation
  • Recycling
  • Refurbishing
  • Festo MPS Station
  • Allen-Bradley PLCs