Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-0465
2002-03-04

Component Based Distributed Control Systems for Automotive Manufacturing Machinery Developed under the Foresight Vehicle Programme 2002-01-0465

A component based approach to the design and implementation of distributed control systems for automotive engine manufacturing machines is described in this paper. The research is being undertaken in collaboration with the In-Line and Diesel Engine (IL&DE) division of the Ford Motor Company and several of its leading machine builders. The approach offers significant advantages over traditional methods. The external drivers of change affecting the automotive manufacturing sector are reviewed and the need for a better solution to the design and implementation of control systems is explained within this context. Existing best practise for the implementation of control systems for automotive engine manufacturing machinery is described.
The new approach supports the implementation fully distributed control systems where a centralised PLC or PC based controller is not required and the control logic is embedded into the components of the machine. Adoption of this component based approach makes it possible for accurate visualisations of machine behaviour to be more easily made available to interested parties throughout the machine lifecycle (e.g. during simultaneous engineering, runtime monitoring and diagnostics). The new system is suitable for both metal cutting and discrete parts handling/assembly applications. Prototype transfer line and assembly machines implemented by major automotive machine builders using this approach will be described.
A novel method for the specification and execution of sequence and interlock based control logic is provided which avoids the need to conventional programming (e.g. in relay ladder logic) and which process engineers can readily understand. The system also provides integrated error reporting and user diagnostics to guarantee that control and diagnostics information is always consistent.

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