Programming PLCs Using Rockwell Automation Controllers

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Programming PLCs Using Rockwell Automation Controllers
Programming PLCs Using Rockwell Automation Controllers

by: Jon Stenerson, Fox Valley Technical College

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For courses in Programmable Logic Controllers, Controllers, Sensors, Industrial Control, and Automation.

This practical, understandable approach to PLC's, sensors, and communications addresses Rockwell in a comprehensive and clearly written fashion. This text is meant to make students comfortable with programming and use. Each topic is clearly explained through the use of common, easy to understand examples.

From the Back Cover

Programming PLCs: Using Rockwell Automation Controllers teaches how to program and integrate PLCs. It provides a comprehensive coverage of the following topics:

* PLC history and the fundamental of programming
* Number systems and coils and contacts
* Rockwell addressing
* I/O modules and wiring
* Advanced programming
* Wiring and practical application of industrial sensors
* Industrial communications: ControlLogix and DeviceNet
* Safety and lockout/tagout
* Installing and troubleshooting PLC systems
* IEC 1131 programming
The LogixPro software found on the accompanying CD provides the student with hands-on experience in programming and troubleshooting their programs in animated simulations.

Table of Contents

1. Overview of Programmable Logic Controllers.
2. Overview of Number Systems.
3. Fundamentals of Programming.
4. Rockwell Automation Memory Organization and Instructions.
5. Timers and Counters.
6. Input/Output Modules and Wiring.
7. Math Instructions.
8. Advanced Instructions.
9. Industrial Sensors.
10. Communications, Controllogix, and Devicenet.
11. Safety and Lockout/Tagout.
12. Installation and Troubleshooting.
13. IEC 611313 Programming.


* LogixPro programming and simulation software CD-ROMIncluded with the text.
Enables students to learn and test their programs.

* Rockwell Automation PLC's.
Provides students with direct applicability to their equipment.

* Addressing chapterProvides a firm understanding of addressing.
Avoids students' confusion by making Rockwell addressing simple and understandable, shortening the learning curve.

* Chapter on Rockwell I/O modules wiringIncludes digital and analog modules.
Provides students with a direct application to Rockwell modules, as well as explains to them the concept of analog control and resolution.

* Chapter on sensorsIncludes broad coverage of industrial sensors.
Helps students understand the types and uses of sensors.

* Chapter on communications, ControlLogix, and DeviceNetBegins with an overview of the three levels of industrial communications.
Shows students the communications technologies that can serve many purposes in their future careers, as well as new models of controllers.

* Instructor's ManualIncludes a PowerPoint presentation for all chapters of the text.
Provides instructors with valuable course support and interesting visuals for their lectures.


The programmable logic controller (PLC) is an amazing piece of technology. The PLC is simple to use, yet features complex technology. While the PLC has been increasing in capability and complexity, vast improvements in software and related hardware have actually made it much easier to program and integrate. The PLC can control anything we can envision. The study and use of PLCs is filled with those "AHA!" moments when we conquer another problem or application.

Programmable control has transformed manufacturing. There is a huge need for trained personnel who can program and integrate industrial controllers and devices.

I wrote this textbook for my students when I was unable to find a practical, affordable textbook that addressed Rockwell SLCs. I have included a CD that contains LogixPro programming and simulation software. The software is a great emulation of Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500 programming software. Each chapter includes questions, and some chapters include additional programming exercises. The programming and simulation software (LogixPro) CD should be used by the student to learn how to program and run the SLC. The student can actually see and troubleshoot programs in animated simulations. The Rockwell Automation instruction set reference manual is also included on the CD.

Each chapter begins with a generic approach to the topic. Each topic is clearly explained through the use of common, easy to understand examples. Chapters 1 through 3 provide the basic foundation for the use of PLCs. Chapter 1 focuses on the history and fundamentals of the PLC. Chapter 2 covers number systems. Chapter 3 covers contacts, coils, and the fundamentals of programming.

Chapter 4 focuses on Rockwell addressing and coils and contacts. Because addressing tends to be confusing for students, this chapter is intended to give them a firm understanding of addressing so that programming will be a much less frustrating task. Chapter 5 covers timers and counters and provides practical examples of the use of timers and counters and their addressing.

Chapter 6 covers I/O modules and wiring, and digital and analog modules. This chapter gives students a practical and logical approach to learning how to wire digital and analog modules, and explains the concept of analog control and resolution.

Chapter 7 covers math instructions including add, subtract, multiply, divide, and compare. In addition, the chapter covers logical operators, standard deviation, and number system conversion instructions.

Chapter 8 covers advanced programming with instructions such as copy, move, and messaging instructions. In addition, PID control and the PID instruction are covered. The newest instructions such as time stamping, ramp, and diagnostic and troubleshooting are discussed. The chapter has practical examples of sequential logic instructions.

Chapter 9 covers industrial sensors and their wiring and focuses on types and uses of sensors. Sensors include optical, inductive, capacitive, encoders, resolvers, ultrasonic, and thermocouples. The wiring and practical application of sensors is stressed.

Chapter 10 covers communications, ControlLogix, and DeviceNet. The chapter begins with an overview of the three levels of industrial communications. ControlLogix is Rockwell Automation's technology that can be used for control and communications. DeviceNet serves many purposes as well.

Chapter 11 covers safety and lockout/tagout. Students learn the basics of safety and lockout/tagout before they enter the industrial environment. Chapter 12 focuses on the installation and troubleshooting of PLC systems. The chapter discusses cabinets, wiring, grounding, noise, and troubleshooting. This chapter provides the fundamental groundwork for proper installation and troubleshooting of integrated systems.

Chapter 13 examines IEC 611313 programming, a topic that is certain to become more prevalent in industrial programming and control. This chapter is an introduction to the various types of programming available under the standard.

I sincerely hope that this book will ease the reader's task of learning to program and integrate PLCs.

Why spend too much money for a brief overview when you can get the best manuals for programming AB/Rockwell's PLCs for free??? Just go to Rockwell's Literature Library and search for the PLC technology you're interested in. For example, if you want PLC5 hardware manuals just search for PLC5. If you want ControlLogix.... well, you get the picture. There are free, high quality, PDF versions of most all of their hardware and software products. You don't need to spend $100 for a little over 300 pages (!!! Geeze !!!) of Kindergarten stuff. Learn the real stuff for nothin'

Like others, I recommend this to be a part of the library in any maintenance and engineering department that is responsible for Rockwell-based automation systems. It's a good overview and should be helpful in a mixed environment. It is not a textbook and advanced programming techniques but should help you understand the use of data files, file instructions, indirect addressing, IO structure and data structures. There is probably never going to be a single book that covers the whole gambit, but this is about as close as you are likely to get with the AB platforms.

This book explains PLCs in terms of Allen Bradley PLCs. It is targeted at people that have never used a PLC before and does a good job of explaining the fundamentals of PLCs. If you are in this group, I would strongly recommend this book. However, it is not very helpful if you are already familiar with PLCs and are looking to learn about Allen Bradley products as much of the book concerns things such as what kind of devices are connected to PLCs, good installation practices, etc.

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