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Crash tests controlled by super-fast PLC

01 November, 2003

Crash tests controlled by super-fast PLC

A PLC, claimed to be the world`s fastest, is being used to control, and gather data from, a German vehicle crash test sled. The high speed is essential because there is just one millisecond to collect and processes masses of data when the sled crash-tests safety devices such as child seats, airbags, safety belts and motorcyle helmets.

The sled (shown above), at the MPA Stuttgart State Materials Testing Institute, was built in 1975. It has recently been modernised by Computec to improve its performance and to generate rapid data on parameters such as acceleration rates, travel distances, and speed.

"In this type of test, it is important to obtain as much data as possible," explains Computec`s technical director, Hans Wohlfarth. "This has to be done within a very short period of time. This means that the controller must be able to acquire the measured values extremely quickly and initiate control responses."

Computec chose to use a Mitsubishi Melsec Q PLC, whose CPU has a cycle time of just 34ns per logic instruction, allowing it to collect and process several streams of data within the 1ms window.

The PLC controls a drive system including a motor, controlled brake and clutch. It also handles data acquisition and calculates the sled`s responses.

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