Colin Carpenter

IEC Developer and the AS-i interface

7 posts in this topic

Hi,

I'm currently looking at a job involving the installation of lots of process valves, and the intelligent actuators on the valves are capable of communicating using the AS-i interface, and as the  Q PLC has an AS-i card available (QJ71AS92), was wondering if anyone has used this card, and if so, can it be installed and run with IEC Developer, our preferred software?

All feedback gratefully received,

Thanks,

Colin 

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Hi Colin.

I have had brief experience with this module- and yes, it was programmed with the IEC Developer Package.

I also have the A Series- Module on my test bench which I believe is very similar in terms of setup but haven't had time to test yet

You will need the configuration package Configurator-AS, do you have this?

Here is the link to the manual if you don't have it already....  http://dl.mitsubishielectric.com/dl/fa/document/manual/plc/sh080291e/sh080291eg.pdf

 

Regards

 

Daniel.

 

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I have used the card, I don't use IEC developer.

Having said that it's just buffer memory and setting a few of the cards outputs and monitoring some inputs.

Note the card is AS-I version 2.11.  Current AS-i is at least 3.0.  I don't foresee any immediate problems but it is something to be aware of.

I have never needed nor used the Configurator.  What does it do?

I would consider using an AS-I gateway to some suitable network on the Q-series  - but no point me waffling on about that if your project is defined.

 

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Thanks for the replies.

At the moment the project is still in the "loose stage" in that the only thing that has been defined is that the PLC will be a Q series and that it will communicate with an older Q2AS by ethernet ( which I got working a while ago).

I have downloaded the manual for the AS-i card and it does seem fairly straighforward in the way it uses buffer memories to send outputs and receive inputs, but the frequent mentions of "configurator software" confuses me as well as I've never used anything other than IEC Developer ....... must look into it.

What is an AS-i gateway .... is that a standalone box that enable comms to Mitsubishi ethernet?

Colin

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17 hours ago, Colin Carpenter said:

Thanks for the replies.

At the moment the project is still in the "loose stage" in that the only thing that has been defined is that the PLC will be a Q series and that it will communicate with an older Q2AS by ethernet ( which I got working a while ago).

I have downloaded the manual for the AS-i card and it does seem fairly straighforward in the way it uses buffer memories to send outputs and receive inputs, but the frequent mentions of "configurator software" confuses me as well as I've never used anything other than IEC Developer ....... must look into it.

What is an AS-i gateway .... is that a standalone box that enable comms to Mitsubishi ethernet?

Colin

 

The Mitsubishi card is ok and works well and will almost certainly be the cheapest option.

The gateway is something like this:

https://www.bihl-wiedemann.de/en/products/as-interface-mastergateways/gateways/product-selector-gateways/s/bwu3735.html

I haven't used that one in particular but it gives you an idea of what is possible.

The advantages are:

1. it works with the latest version of AS-I

2. It has much more fault finding and trouble-shooting ability built in

3. It is a much simpler process to address and re-address slaves

4. You can get units to talk to 2 AS-i networks an also supply power to the network.

Disadvantages:

1. Cost

2. You need to find one that talks "Mitsubishi." Modbus TCP might be the best option.

3. If you are not doing much other than AS-i it might make the Q redundant as you can get PLC or programming functions in some gateways or use a "basic" PLC.

--------------------------------------

It is definitely a swings and roundabout thing that probably just comes down on the side of the Mitsubishi card if your project is simple (you mention intelligent actuators which may depend on the latest version of AS-i. ), small scale (only 62 and under some conditions down to 31 slaves per network), digital  and in a relatively clean environment.

 

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Thanks again for the info.

The project is looking like it will involve around 100 "stainless steel process valves" as used in the food industry.

The valve type varies, some being simple butterfly valves, some "3 port" divert valves and some "4 port" mixproof valves.

The valves will almost certainly be fitted with Alfa Laval "Thinktop" heads, each one of which can be fitted with "from 1 to 3" solenoids and each one having two feedback sensors to indicate if the valve shaft has reached the end of it's travel. All are operated by compressed air, with springs to return the valve to the default position.

In the past, we've done things the simple way, by having a dedicated PLC output for each solenoid and two dedicated inputs for the "energised" and "de-energised" feedback sensors, with the PLC code flagging up a valve alarm if the the positions of the feedback sensors are wrong for whatever reason.

However, to do this job would mean say 120 outputs and say 200 inputs, so the attraction of the As-i interface is much reduced wiring and a much reduced PLC cost, so I can see the benefits.

Looking at the manual for the thinktops, AS-I is one of the standard interfaces on those units (Device Net being the other one) and I've heard good things about how well it works and how easy it is to install. 

As you rightly say, the AS-i version in the thinktops is V3.0 while the Mitsubishi module still runs at V2.xx, so hopefully this is OK.

Reading the manuals of both the AS-i module and the thinktop seems to make perfect sense as all the IO will be binary (on or off) and we're not planning to use it for any analogues (still like the reliability of a 4-20mA signal).

I think we'll order up the Mitsubishi AS-i module and have a play on the test rack, but I'm still confused by the constant references to GX Configurator in all the manuals???

Colin 

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Colin,

I have taken a very quick look at the thinktop datasheet.  Here's where you might run into problems:

1. With V2.1 you are limited to 31 stations according to the data sheet.  I would check this - I use up to 62 with a Mitsu card as they allow A and B addresses.  Maybe 2.11 on Mitsu is more like 3.0?

2. I would work on one and only one process valve per slave.  The thinktop allows up to 3 solenoid valves but there only seems to be feedback for one process valve.

3. This will mean at up to 4 AS-i Networks so 4 Asi masters and 4 Asi power-supplies and 4 separate cable runs.  

I would speak to the thinktop suppliers and maybe ask for a demo / sample. 

The balance is tipping based on the outcome of item 1.  62 units = 2 Mitsu card. 31 units = 4 Mitsu cards and double the other infrastructure.

 

Bear in mind this is just things that need clarifying - I would hope/suspect that the datasheet has  point 1 wrong.

Also, if you doing the install factor in the cost of a hand-held addressing unit unless you are really patient.

 

The configurator probably just lets you built the network in theory and checks power consumption and number of slaves - the FX version is very limited for example.

All the data is available in the card memory.

I can't see how it can do the addressing for you as it cannot discriminate between two identical units on the network until after they have been addressed.

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