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The purpose of this project is to provide the VCU Engineering Students with a training system to simulate the use of Industrial Automation systems. Students need a wide variety of training systems to adequately train and improve their knowledge of all the fundamentals of PLC systems. There are multiple companies that sell a very expensive training setup that can teach students about Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control systems and mechanical systems but those systems cost too much (~$20,000+) for a small university or trade school to fund. The training system that was built provides the student with real world control and monitoring of physical plant attributes like fluid level control and temperature control. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is used to instantiate the PID’s for both level control and temperature control. A level transmitter and a thermocouple act as the process variables and the solenoid valves and a heater act as the manipulating variables to adjust the level and temperature respectively. All components of the system work harmoniously together to simulate a physical plant process. The demonstrations run through this trainer show how the hardware and software work together to allow the operator control of the system. The goal is to allow students a chance to be exposed to different uses of PLC’s and PID’s.

Publication Date



Industrial Automation, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), Proportional Integrated Derivative (PID) Control, Plant Process


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Carl Elks

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Robert Klenke

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Plant Process Emulator