Article published in Fusion Engineering and Design, 2012
The use of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) for automation of electromechanical processes is an industrial control system technology. It is more and more in use within the fusion community. Traditionally PLC based systems are operated and maintained using proprietary SCADA systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). They are hardly ever integrated with the in fusion control and data acquisition systems.
An overview of the state of the art in fusion is given in the article.
At JET an inhouse “black box protocol” approach has been developed to communicate with any external system via a dedicated http based protocol. However, a PLC usually can’t be modified to implement this special protocol. Hence, a software layer has been developed that interfaces a PLC by implementing the PLC specific communication part on one side and the black box protocol part on the other side. The software is completely data driven i.e. editing the data structure changes the logic accordingly. It can be tested using the web capability of the black box protocol. Multiple PLC types from different vendors are supported, thus multiple protocols to interface the PLC are in use. Depending on the PLC type and available tools it can be necessary to program the PLC accordingly.
Wendelstein 7-X uses another approach. For every single PLC a dedicated communication from and to CoDaC is implemented. This communication is projected (programmed) in the PLC and configurable (data driven) on the CoDaC side. The protocol is UDP based and observed via timeout mechanisms. The use of PLCs for Wendelstein 7-X is standardized. Therefore a single implementation on the CoDaC side allows communication with any PLC. Measured data from the PLC is archived in the mass data store. Set points from CoDaC can be visualized from within the PLC visualization environment.
A detailed description, discussion and comparison of the JET and W7-X approaches is given.
open access version: http://edoc.mpg.de/get.epl?fid=101277&did=628442&ver=0
Poster: Connecting PLC