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software engineering
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Enschede

Internship: Building a control library in Beckhoff Twincat

DEMCON is a company that develops advanced mechatronic systems for its customers. Two examples of such systems are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

For some of DEMCON’s solutions, PLCs are used to control a system, read out sensors, and control actuators. To control the motion axes of such systems, DEMCON currently has two solutions. First, using the built-in functionality of the PLC software available from the manufacturers themselves. This solution is used for simple control tasks because of its plug-and-play functionality but rather limited feature set. The second option is to use custom-made software for advanced feedback and feedforward control using, e.g., Matlab/Simulink®.

Figure 2: Eccentric shaft Z-actuator

In practice, DEMCON experiences a gap between these two solutions. For many systems, the control question is too complex for the standard PLC software solution but setting up a completely new software environment results in an overkill of work. Therefore, DEMCON is looking for a solution to bridge this gap by creating a control library with frequently used feedback/feedforward control elements that can be used within a PLC environment.

In this internship assignment, the goal is to develop a control library that can be used within the TwinCAT® PLC environment (Beckhoff PLC). To this end, an existing DEMCON control library for Matlab/Simulink can be used as a reference, see Figure 3 for an example. First, the Simulink® library should be translated to one of the compatible PLC languages and integrated into TwinCAT®. Mathematical formulations of the building blocks are readily available for this. Second, each item of the library must be unit-tested according to software standards. Third, an experimental validation should be performed on a prototype system which is available in the laboratory in Enschede. In the end, a report must be written according to academic standards.

Figure 3: Example of Demcon control library block

Required pre-knowledge:

  • BSc program in Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Mechatronics, including courses related to (PLC)-programming, and dynamics & control.

 

Contact and more information:

  • Demcon Recruitment, recruitment@demcon.com

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