The project “PLC laboratory trainer” was conducted by five students within the “Team-oriented project studies” event at Karlsruhe College for Technology and Business. The event takes place in the 6th term of the Mechatronics Bachelor course and is looked after by the lecturer Prof. P. Weber. The aim of the event is to solve a mechatronic problem using team-oriented, engineering methods.
As part of this event, the students David Schiebol, Mario Herbold, Tilman Dilger, Nino Kovac and Christian Silvery developed the working prototype “PLC laboratory trainer”, which was designed for use in the automation laboratory for the mechatronics course. The aim of the concept is to demonstrate to the students how to handle a programmable logic controller (abbreviation: PLC) in an attractive way. The students can thereby learn how to programme a PLC in the laboratory and hence how to control /query various sensors, as well as electrical and pneumatic actuators.
A possible application for the system is to pick up objects, differentiate their material and put them down sorted accordingly. For this purpose, objects made of aluminium and plastic can be picked up from the rotary disks using a vacuum gripper. The objects are then moved in the whole machine with the aid of the 3-axis room portal. A material detection process takes place using the sensor technology, so that the plastic objects are put down on the delivery plate, for example. The aluminium objects detected can be moved onto the machine's conveyor belt by means of pneumatic cylinders.
For presentation purposes, letters are milled into the objects. The writing by the “HSKA Mechatronics” course can therefore be displayed on the delivery plate and the conveyor belt.
Due to a very limited budget, almost all the components were designed and produced by the students themselves, such as the room portal, conveyor belt and rotary disk subassemblies. Various plastic plain bearings and two energy supply chains from the manufacturer “igus®” were used as a result. At this point we would like to give our thanks once again for the great support from “igus®”!