DICO PLC standard

Using a generally valid PLC standard has fundamental advantages. Because everybody knows it, everybody can work with it and problems are quickly solved. Creating programs is easy because libraries are used and everything just has to be copied together. The constructive work is limited to the definition of the step sequence.

Open to all PLC types

A common standard stops when different PLC systems or generations are in use. If e.g. the old S7 is still being used in addition to the new TIA portal or even a foreign PLC such as B&R, the common denominator is missing.
DICO, on the other hand, can be ported to almost any controller. Until now, there have been versions for Rockwell ControlLogix, Siemens S7 and Siemens TIA Portal. ↑↑↑

Parameterization instead of programming

Only a few parameters for the system and the individual step chains are sufficient. The step chains are defined via functions. A function can be a robot, a camera, a valve or just a single part control. The functions are defined via zones. A zone describes in which steps states or inputs are expected and when they must be present. If the function has controls, these are also parameterized in the corresponding zones.
The states require the following parameters:

  • Step (s) when the states are expected
  • Step (s) when the states must be present
  • Unique message numbers to display the states

If controls such as a valve output are available, these parameters are also required:

The definition of step (s) of the corresponding feedback status is used for control
Button with corresponding feedback lamp on the HMI for control in manual mode
Request to foreign zones to check valid statuses for manual interlock. This always results in a diagnosis if there is an interlock state. ↑↑↑

Step sequence control is used exclusively to implement the automation process. One PLC can operate 20 step sequences. At first this seems a little small, but experience has shown that there are often small asynchronous processes that require their own step sequence. This includes small feed units or transport systems. At DICO, this has been solved using subsequences. Each main step chain can manage up to 8 sub-step chains. A subsequence is implemented sparingly and completely in the main sequence, but has its own step counter. ↑↑↑

Fully structured

All the necessary variables are predefined as structured arrays.These can be easily addressed using indices such as the sequence number, function number or push button number of the HMI. ↑↑↑

Dynamic diagnosis

The conventional process control often happens statically according to if-then-rules. Only error messages are displayed on the HMI that have to be recognized and acknowledged as such.
Programming a comprehensive error message is almost impossible, so the machine can simply stand still without a solution-oriented display of the cause.
DICO has a different philosophy and requires a new way of thinking.
With DICO, each status / sequence is programmed by messages that are always displayed on the HMI via message bits.
The transition is not defined by states. It is always given when all messages have gone out.
As a logical consequence, the step progression takes place via messages and not via states.
The machine can never stop without displaying a message.
The dynamic diagnosis describes the independent behavior of the messages. The diagnosis determines the process. The automation is DIagnostic COntrolled.

Are You ready for DICO? ↑↑↑

Info messages

In addition to the message matrix, which influences the process because stepping takes place when there are no messages, there is also an info matrix.
These info messages do not influence the process and are for information only. The special thing about this is that a value is assigned to these info messages, which is also displayed on the HMI. You can use it to display fill levels, temperatures or other very easily. ↑↑↑

Homing is unnecessary

Most systems cannot restart after manual intervention. Often the entire machine has to be brought into its home position in order to be able to continue production. This is the reason why there is often the function home position run. Systems that require this feature are simply not mature. With DICO, what is missing is automatically displayed in the current step so that you can start again. If the current step no longer matches the system situation, it can easily be adapted and what is missing to start is always displayed in each step. If there is a step to which the current situation fits, it will be found and you can simply start again. ↑↑↑

Ready for DICO HMI

A program created in DICO is automatically ready for the DICO HMI. Only a unique machine number for database access and the number of HMI’s are parameterized in the PLC. The HMI only needs the IP address of the PLC and a DSN database access. The texts required for the HMI only have to be copied into the database using an Excel template. ↑↑↑

Ready for DICO PDM

A program created in DICO is also automatically ready for DICO PDM. Only the PDM stations have to be parameterized in the PLC. The necessary entries in the database are also edited using a tool and copied into the database. These database entries are required by the SceLe Tool to log the PDM data in a database. ↑↑↑