Spring PLC Project

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 18 March 2019

PLC stands for programmable logic controller, which is a type of ladder logic code that is used in industry to control robotics, and other machines, mostly for manufacturing processes such as conveyors. I am taking the PLC class currently here at Ohio University, and am very interested in the application of this technology.

While I was at Toyota, I did some PLC modifications to the assembly line machines in order to decrease the WIP (work in progress) stock on the line. Now for my PLC project I will not be working with anything quite as advanced, but I am designing and building an automated ball launcher.

My requirements were that my dog can trigger it himself so while I am working full time he can still burn off some steam, and that it is enclosed and safe to him. The device includes a spring powered arm driven by an electric motor. It will have a sensor to determine if the ball is loaded, a limit switch to shut off the motor, as well as two relays.

The mechanical aspect of the ball launcher is as follows: the free swinging “launch” arm is pulled around by the motor. Once the arm gets parallel with the base of the device, the spring will bring the it around and hit the ball sitting in home position.

I currently am scrapping most parts from other projects or random materials I find laying around, so I know I will need to revisit this project and make a more robust and hopefully more efficient ball launcher this summer!

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