Software for automatic warehouse of extrusion billets with heuristic management
Created with the POWER-KI® programming language, it replaced the previous application also created by XPLAB in 2007, with XPOLYPLUS® technology. The reasons for this replacement were the need to have a system that can be integrated in 4.0 logic into the EGM infrastructure and to provide access to the application also to figures other than plant management operators. XPOLYPLUS® technology, while providing reliability and performance characteristics that the years have amply confirmed, was however limited in its interconnection capabilities. With POWER-KI® it was possible to create an application that has preserved and enhanced the functions already present in the previous version, significantly extending the connection and management possibilities of the system.
The warehouse has the function of stowing the billets coming from the casting in vertical stacks, and then picking up according to the request (by alloy, by analysis, by size, etc.) those that must be sent to extrusion. Five overhead cranes take care of the handling. The system hardware consists of a set of Siemens PLCs connected in profinet. In this regard, it should be emphasized that this was among the very first systems in the world built with this communication technology.
The role of the PLC
One of the peculiar characteristics of this application is the role of the PLC, in fact usually the control and handling tasks of the plant are delegated to it and the simple man / machine interface tasks to the PC. In the case of HABS, things are very different, in fact the PLC safely performs atomic operations that are scheduled and controlled by the Control and supervision software or HABS.
One of the difficulties of the project derives from the need to maintain the integrity of the information of the material even in the presence of manual handling. This requirement is fundamental as materials of different alloys are visually indistinguishable. To meet this need, a Software Observer has been created, independent of the control element.
the heuristics underlying the scheduling and observation components is an evolution of what has already been achieved in a completely original way, albeit with less powerful means in the previous version. The observer undertakes to "understand" what is happening, to maintain the coherence and integrity of the data regardless of whoever works; the Scheduler solves the execution constraints of the required operations, simulating the cyber-physical model of the plant, and sends the atomic commands to the PLC.
The 3D interface
For systems of this type it is essential to provide the Operators with a simple interface but at the same time as expressive as possible. For this reason the representation of the plant (synoptic) is a 3d model synchronized in real time with the plant and on it the Operators carry out all the operations.
Native Cloud technology (a term that we believe we have invented) is one of the features that has been used in HABS to distribute interfaces to different users, even using PWK Enterprise Server. Basically, while the application resides on the server, users get the pages of the application relevant to them on their computers, as if they were local.
HABS is the Control and Supervision software created for a warehouse of extrusion brass billets. Written with the POWER-KI® programming language, it exploits its power to implement :innovative control heuristic logics, the distribution of user interfaces in Native Cloud mode, the representation in real time through a digital twin in 3d, the full connection with the IT infrastructure of the company.