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Simulation interpretation in automation industry

Related to "automation industry", there are generally 3 different interpretations of what simulations is:
1) Mechanical Simulations – Via various solid modeling tools and cad programs; tooling, moving mechanisms, end-effectors… are designed with 3D visualizations, connecting the modules to prevent interference, check mass before actual machining…
2) Electronics Simulations – This type of simulations are either related to the manufacturers of "specific instrumentations" used in automation industry (ultrasonic welders, laser marking systems,…) or the designers of circuit boards.
3) Electrical & Controls Simulations.
A) Electrical Schematics, from main AC disconnect switch, down to 24VDC low amps for I/O interface.
Simulation tools allow easy determinations of system's required amperage, fuse sizes, wire gauges, accordance with standards (CE, UL, cUL, TUV…)…
B) Logic Simulations, HMI interface, I/O exchange, motion controls…
a) If you want to have any kind of meaningful simulations, get in the habit of "modular ladder logic" circuit design. This means, don't design your ladder like one continuous huge program that runs the whole thing; simulating this type of programs is almost impossible in every case. Break down the logic to sub-systems or maybe even down to stand alone mechanisms (pick & place, motor starter…), simulating and troubleshooting this scenario is fairly easy.
b) When possible, beside automated run mode of the machine or system, build "manual mode logic" for it as well. Then via physical push-buttons or HMI, you should have "step forward" & "step back" for every "physical movement or action".

Simulating the integrity of the "ladder logic program" and all the components and interfaces will be a breeze if things are done meticulously upfront.

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