Comparing Ladder Logic Diagrams and Petri Nets for Sequence Controller Design Through a Discrete Manufacturing System

Kurapati Venkatesh, Reggie J. Caudill, Meng Chu Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Design methods for sequence controllers play a very important role in advancing industrial automation. The increasing complexity and varying needs of modern discrete manufacturing systems have challenged the traditional design methods such as the use of ladder logic diagrams (LLD’s) for programmable logic controllers. The methodologies based on research results in computer science have recently received growing attention by academic researchers and industrial engineers in order to design flexible, reusable, and maintainable control software. Particularly, Petri nets (PN’s) are emerging as a very important tool to provide an integrated solution for modeling, analysis, simulation, and control of industrial automated systems. This paper identifies certain criteria to compare LLD’s and PN’s in designing sequence controllers and responding to the changing control requirements. The comparison is performed through a practical system after introducing “real-time Petri nets" for discrete-event control purposes. The results reported in this paper will help (a) further establish Petri net based techniques for discrete-event control of industrial automated systems, and (b) effectively convince industrial practitioners and researchers that it is worthy and timely to consider and promote the applications of Petri nets to their particular discrete-event control problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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