What control engineer should to know

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by nok, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. nok

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 28, 2010
    I search after information that can explain to me more about what a control engineer in robotics company should to know how to do in these areas:
    1. Choose the right controler
    2. Control methods and analysis
    3. Write the code for all the robot include sensors, motors, drivers, hydraulic and pneumatics, data structure, operating system, signals, electronics circuit, communication or other
    What more maybe need to know a good control engineer that work in robotics applications?
    If you know about company that produce a controller and this company wrote a book \ booklet about how to wrote the code for the controller that they did so I will glad if you can wrote a link to this website also any other website that can be good for this information that I search
  2. Rocket.Man

    New Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Robits are controled by a PLC unit. Lots of companies make their own version of PLC units. Some units are more popular than others. PLC units are little mini programmable computers made just for industy. They can be programmed to run any machine.

    The first PLC that I learned to program was the Allen Bradly SLC 150. It has 16 inputs and 8 outputs and can be expanded by linking slave PLC units together to get any multiple of 8/16 you need. These became obsolute 20 years ago, you can buy them on ebay very cheap these days. They come in 4 version, #1 is 120 vac with solid relay contacts, #2 is 120 vac with prox sensor switches, #3 is 24vdc with solid relay contacts, #4 is 24vdc with prox sensor switches. You can buy a SLC150 on ebay with a hand held programmer very cheap, if the instruction manual does not come with it do google search it will come up online. Read the manual how it works then buy one and experement with it. It only takes an hour to get the hang of it so you can program simple things like when you open your house front door the living room light comes on. Robots will have a lot of switches to tell the PLC unit where it is all the time. You use the ON/OFF position of the switches to make programs.

    Easy example. Lets assume you put a SLC 150 on your car. Put a NC switch on each door, gear shifter park position. Now program the unit so all 5 swicthes need to be closed before the car will start.

    For a machine of robot it gets more complicated. Lets assume you used all 16 inputs and all are switches. Lets say 12 are NC switches and 4 are NO switches. With the machine turned ON the motor needs to be ON, safety guard ON, Parts in machine ON, robot in start position ON, etc. Get the idea. You need to know how the machine runs and what it does to program the PLC unit. You program in safeties to keep people from getting hurt or to keep the robot from crashing into something.

    I learned to program 3 different PLC units, the A&B SLC 150 then the ungrade unit after that. I learned to do GE this is not such a great unit. I learned another one with a Japanese name dont remember the name. They are all easy just slightly different. It only takes about 2 weeks to learn to program one of these.

    Robots have come a long way in 25 years they are not custom built anymore, they are made on assembly lines just like cars. They can do 1000s of things but only required to do a few things on the job. Programming is fun as long as I dont have to do it in my office. I like to be on the factory floor.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  3. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    I have never yet seen a robot controlled by a PLC unless it was a simple pick-and-place, the PLC may be used for ancilliary equipment but on a sophisticated robotics the motion requires multi-axis interpolation which requires servo systems in the CNC realm.
    I know PLC's have add-on feature cards, but their principle purpose in life is not CNC, CNC is closer to real time control.
  4. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    A control engineer needs to know everything contained in a 4 1/2 year Bachelor of Science in Engieering (BSE) program.
  5. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
    Another open ended question without proper terms of reference.
    Is this for a large organisation or a small one?

    An Engineer, as opposed to a technicain, will have a much wider skill set than just current technical knowledge of current systems and practice.
    A good knowledge of relevent regulations, technical, safety and design, will be required.
    Sufficient understanding of basic principles to monitor, evaluate and take on board developments in the field as they arise, including regulatory changes.
    He or she will be competent to act in the contracting and tendering process, writing specifications, submitting bids or whatever.
    Possibly she will need be versed in stock management and control.

    There area few for starters.
  6. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    Good one, and this will be relevant how?

    I have no books about embedded C or electronic circuits at all.

    You arent control engineer from a piece of paper. You mostly just power up ready made devices probably some programming. there is no extensive hardware repair or fault finding or excessive designing of mysterious devices all day.

    Most information is in the datatsheets and is comprehensible by a teenager easily.

    Ovver time eventually you become a control engineer, a good one or a not so good one.
    Books? You need to work hard and work with your subjects for instance electric circuits, or you could have a large library and still not much of a clue about neon lamps or high voltage capacitor or markets.