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Hardware Components

for Automation

Ch 6
Ch 6 Hardware Components
for Automation
1. Sensors
2. Actuators
3. Analog-to-Digital Conversion
4. Digital-to-Analog Conversion
5. Input/Output Devices for Discrete Data
Computer-Process Interface
The computer must collect data from and
transmit signals to the production process for
implementing process control,
Components are required to implement the
Sensors to measure continuous and discrete process
Actuators to drive continuous and discrete process
Devices for ADC and DAC
I/O devices for discrete data
Computer Process Control System
A sensor is a transducer that converts a physical stimulus or variable
of interest (e.g. force, temperature) from one form into a more
useful form (e.g. electrical voltage) to measure the stimulus or
Sensors are classified as:
1. An analog sensor:
produces continuous analog signal such as electric voltage, e.g.
thermocouple, strain gages, potentiometer
Output signal analog ADC digital data
2. A discrete sensor:
produces an output that can have only a limited number of values
Two categories discrete sensor:
Binary sensor produces on/off signal, e.g.: limit switch, photoelectric
sensor, proximity switch
Digital sensor produces digital output signal, e.g. photoelectric sensor
array, optical encoder, pulse counter)
Digital transducers are common to used
Easy to read
Compatible with digital computer system
Sensors are distinguished as
Active sensor
Responds to the stimulus without any external power
e.g. thermocouple
Passive sensor
Requires an external power source in order to operate
e.g. thermistor
Transfer Function
The relationship between the value of the
physical stimulus and the value of the signal
produced by the sensor in response to the
stimulus : S = f(s)
where S = output signal, s = stimulus (input), and f(s)
is the functional relationship between them
Transfer function is I/O relationship
Calibration of the device is needed to
determine transfer function
Limit switch or binary sensor
S = 1 if s 0
S = 0 if s 0
Ideal function form for an analog measuring is
a simple proportional relationship:
S = C + ms
C is output value at stimulus value of zero
(sensor sensitivity)
m is proportional constant between s and S
Common measuring devices used in
automation (Table 6.2)
Desirable features for selecting sensors (table
Hardware devices that convert a controller
command signal into a change in a physical
The change is usually mechanical (e.g., position of a
worktable or velocity of a motor)
An actuator is a transducer because it changes one
type of physical quantity into some alternative form
An actuator is usually activated by a low level
command signal, so an amplifier may be required to
provide sufficient power to drive the actuator
Types of actuators
1. Electrical actuators
Electric motors
DC motors
AC motors
Stepper motors
Linear motors
2. Hydraulic actuators
Use hydraulic fluid to amplify the controller
command signal
3. Pneumatic actuators
Use compressed air as the driving force
DC motor
is powered by a constant current and voltage
allows higher speed operation
Widely used since convenience of using direct
current as the power source and torque-speed
relationship are attractive in many application
DC servomotors are a common type used in
mechanized and automated because possible
to regulate speed
A rotating electric motor
Torque-Speed Curve of a DC
Servomotor and load torque plot
AC motor
Is widely used in many industrial applications
Is classified into:
Synchronous motors
Induction motors
Relative simple construction and low manufacturing
Stepper motor
Provide rotation in the form of discrete angular
Each angular step is actuated by a discrete electrical
The rotational speed is controlled by the frequency of
the pulses
Two operating mode:
locked step mode each pulse received by motor causes
a discrete angular step, the motor starts and stops,
direction of rotation can be reserved
Slewing mode higher speed, does not allow for stopping
or reversing with each subsequent step
Typical Torque-Speed Curve of a
Stepper Motor
Mechanisms to convert rotary motion
into linear motion
Linear motor
Provides a linear motion directly
Does not require a rotary to linear conversion
Three styles Linear motor
Other types of actuator
Electrical actuator
Linear Solenoid is often used to open and close
valves in fluid flow system
Rotary solenoid is provide rotary motion
Hydraulic actuator
Pneumatic actuator
Cylinder and piston: (a) Single-acting
and (b) Double-acting
Hydraulic vs Pneumatic system
Analog-to-Digital Conversion
An ADC converts a continuous analog signal from
transducer into digital code for use by computer
Hardware device for ADC
Sensor and transducer measuring device
Signal and conditioning rendering analog signal to
remove and conversion from one signal form to
Multiplexer switching device
Amplifier to scale the incoming signal up or down
to be compatible range
ADC to convert analog signal into digital
Hardware Devices in Analog-to-Digital
Analog Signal Converted into a Series
of Discrete Data by A-to-D Converter
Step for ADC
Sampling converts the continuous signal into
a series of discrete analog signals at periodic
Quantization each discrete analog is
converted into one of a finite number of
converted (previously defined) discrete
amplitude levels
Encoding discrete value of amplitude levels
are converted into digital code
Relevant factors of an ADC
Sampling rate rate at which continuous
analog signal is polled
Conversion time how long it takes to convert
the sampled signal to digital code
Resolution depends on number of
quantization levels
Conversion method means by which analog
signal is encoded into digital equivalent, e.g.
successive approximation method
Successive Approximation Method
A series of trial voltages are successively compared to
the input signal whose value is unknown
Number of trial voltages = number of bits used to
encode the signal
First trial voltage is 1/2 the full scale range of the ADC
If the remainder of the input voltage exceeds the trial
voltage, then a bit value of 1 is entered, if less than trial
voltage then a bit value of zero is entered
The successive bit values, multiplied by their respective
trial voltages and added, becomes the encoded value
of the input signal
Successive Approximation Method
Digital-to-Analog Conversion
Converts the digital output of the computer into a
continuous analog signal to drive an analog
actuator(or other analog device)
DAC consists of two steps:
1. Decoding digital output of computer is converted
into a series of analog values at discrete moments in
2. Data holding each successive value is changed into
a continuous signal that lasts until the next sampling
Data Holding Step in DAC: (a) Zero-
Order Hold and (b) First-Order Hold
Input/Output Devices for Discrete Data
Two types of contact interface: input and
Input and output are relative to the computer
Contact Input/Output Interfaces
Contact input interface series of contacts that are
open or closed to indicate the status of individual
binary devices such as limit switches and valves
The computer periodically scans the contacts to
update values in memory
Can also be used for discrete data other than binary
(e.g., a photoelectric sensor array)
Contact output interface communicates on/off
signals from the computer to the process
Values are maintained until changed by the computer
Contact input interface can be used to
1. Binary data:
Contact input interface input data to computer
(a device are read into the computer from some
external source, e.g. a process: closed-open, contact-
non contact, on-off)
Contact output interface output data from computer
2. Discrete data other than binary:
Contact input interface input data to computer (e.g.
photoelectric sensor array)
Contact output interface output data from computer
Contact input interface can be used to
3. Pulse Counters and Generators
Pulse counter converts a series of pulses (pulse
train)into a digital value
Digital value is then entered into the computer through its
input channel
Most common counting electrical pulses
Used for both counting and measurement applications
Pulse generator a device that produces a series of
electrical signals
The number of pulses or frequency of the pulse train is
specified by the computer