Introducing VirtuaPlant 0.1

Today I’m releasing a project I’ve been working on for the past week which I called VirtuaPlant (yeah I now, I suck at giving names).

From the project page:

VirtuaPlant is a Industrial Control Systems simulator which adds a “similar to real-world control logic” to the basic “read/write tags” feature of most PLC simulators. Paired with a game library and 2d physics engine, VirtuaPlant is able to present a GUI simulating the “world view” behind the control system allowing the user to have a vision of the would-be actions behind the control systems.

This first version features a dead simple single process of filling bottles with small pellets (It was supposed to be liquid but I still haven’t figured out how to deal with liquids on the engine) but the fun is guaranteed!

Motivation

The idea came after receiving the billionth email asking for recommendations for a PLC simulator, since I dislike the idea of simply recommending one of the soft PLCs with no logic inside which simply allows the user to read and write stuff, I’ve decided to write something more which contained some logic and also allowed the user to see the effects of their actions.

Then while doing my daily readings I’ve stumbled upon this technical article and thought that it could easily be reproducible over software. Enter VirtuaPlant!

Just shut up, show me the goodies!

The main screen is the “game screen” or “world view” which simulates the real world being controlled by the PLC. This uses the physics engine to render the actions and also features a modbus server “connected” to it.

Fill, fill, fill!

I’ve also made a poor-man’s HMI to get the field-feel, give feedback on the TAGs status and provide minimum control (Start/Stop). This has a modbus client connected over TCP the modbus server (PLC) on the World View.

Still less ugly than most HMIs I've seen on field

And the cherry on top, some attack scripts to make everything a mess! Make the nozzle open all the time flooding everything, or the motor on all the time making all the bottles empty or stopping the whole process.

Spill all the things!

Demo

Here’s a video of VirtuaPlant in action:

I wanna get it! Gimme!

Rush to the project page to find out more about the project, get the download links and instructions.

Help wanted

If you know pybox2d or are a talented designer, your help is needed in order to make VirtuaPlant even better!

The following improvements are to be made:

  • Better UI for World View and HMI
  • Move from Chipmunk to Box2d
  • Create more plant scenarios

Contact me if you feel like you could help on these matters!

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