My senior Capstone project tasked my team and I to build and program a “tradeshow style” automation cell that demonstrates the capabilities of the FANUC M10-iA robotic manipulator. I was the software lead, which means I had to program everything in the cell that needed programming and figure out how to make them all communicate with each other over Ethernet.
- CompactLogix PLC
- FANUC M10-iA robotic manipulator
- Banner Safety PLC
- Lexium MDrive Ethernet controlled stepper motors
- SMC EX-600 remote I/O node
- Intel NUC “HMI”
In total, I had to pick up and understand three new programming/scripting languages including ladder logic, FANUC teach pendant, and the Lexium scripting language in just a few months. Being familiar with text-based languages like C, C++, Python, etc. made it somewhat difficult to get the hang of ladder logic. However, the principles that I picked up from those common languages helped me to program the decision-making abilities into the PLC using ladder logic that I like to think wouldn’t have been very apparent had I not been so familiar with them.
Overall it was a very long and stressful project, but I’m very happy with the outcome as are our industry partners, Delta Technologies Inc. who financed a great majority of the project and provided us with professional engineering advice (as this was something none of us had ever worked on before). Special thanks goes out to my team and especially my project manager, who made the super cool video for us.