Ladder logic input contacts and output coils allow simple logical decisions. Functions extend basic ladder logic to allow other types of control. For example, the addition of timers and counters allowed event based control. A longer list of functions is shown in Figure 14.1 Basic PLC Function Categories. Combinatorial Logic and Event functions have already been covered. This chapter will discuss Data Handling and Numerical Logic. The next chapter will cover Lists and Program Control and some of the Input and Output functions. Remaining functions will be discussed in later chapters.
Most of the functions will use PLC memory locations to get values, store values and track function status. Most function will normally become active when the input is true. But, some functions, such as TOF timers, can remain active when the input is off. Other functions will only operate when the input goes from false to true, this is known as positive edge triggered. Consider a counter that only counts when the input goes from false to true, the length of time the input is true does not change the function behavior. A negative edge triggered function would be triggered when the input goes from true to false. Most functions are not edge triggered: unless stated assume functions are not edge triggered.