Generic Microcontroller Board for Automated Heavy Machinery with Modular Control System 2013-01-2386
The level of automation, including operator assisting functions, is becoming more sophisticated in heavy machinery. This involves using new types of sensors and embedded computers. However, considering the long life cycles of heavy machinery, the electronic control systems should be modular and flexible.
A modular control system of an automated machine is often distributed over CAN and Ethernet. However, many interesting sensor and actuator types do not have these interfaces. In this paper, a generic microcontroller board with analogous and digital communication is presented. With this board, CAN communications can be added to many sensors. The board can also perform sensor-related data processing.
The microcontroller board is tested in several applications. In an automated wheel loader, the board is used in control of the work hydraulics circuit that is based on digital hydraulics. On the same machine, the board is also used in wireless remote control, wireless emergency stop circuit and wheel odometry. On another automated wheel loader, a state-of-the-art embedded inertial sensor is connected to CAN using the same microcontroller board.
Furthermore, the board is used on a small wheel loader that is equipped with an automated excavator. In this application the microcontroller board connects the excavator to the modular control system of the wheel loader. The board also performs closed-loop control and an automated bucket emptying function of the excavator.
A simple microcontroller board has proven to be an efficient way of interfacing diverse sensors to a modular control system.