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Automation systems

  1. Mar 30, 2013 #1


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    I am interesting to know about the automation systems (production line) and the machines that manufactures these products: solar cells, thin-film solar modules, display screens like: Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), touch panel and plasma, thin film rechargeable lithium ion batteries, lithium ion batteries for electric car, fuel cells and printed circuit boards (PCB).
    Some video links that are related to these issues:
    Fuel Cell Manufacturing Plant

    FlexPicker Robots

    If you know about links videos or texts about automation systems or machines that produce these products, I will glad if you can write them in this thread.
    I search any connections that can be between machines and automation systems like there are in the video, or that produce the products that I mention above, and several engineering issues.

    I have several questions that are related to the control and electronics circuits of automation systems and machines. If you know any link that is related to these subjects so I will glad if you can write them in this thread.

    1. I know that they use controllers like in this link:
    1.A. What functions \ requirements the controllers that can be used for applications likes these automation systems and machines need to have?
    1.B. I see that the controllers have option to connect to the internet. What can be the applications \ advantages these automation systems and machines can use the internet? 1.C. What communication technology can be use between the different kinds of the controllers in these automation systems and machines?
    2.A. I know that there are some standards in motion control hardware, I want to know what are these standard? And how is the organization that is responsible for these standards?
    2.B. I search after information and links that have projects that involve control motion for leaser cutting
    2.C. What are the control motions that maybe can be use in these automation system and machines?
    3.A. What kinds of electronic circuits these automation systems and machines can have? Are these circuit are analogue electronics circuits or digital electronics circuits or both? And why?
    3.B. Are these automation systems and machines have power electronics like switches converters? And why these automation systems and machines have or don't have these technologies?
    3.C. What is driver? What the drivers do?
    4. I am interesting to read links about researches that are doing in the universities labs about the control of these automation systems and machines.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    I'll take a crack at some of your questions.

    1.A. Some of the more important requirements and functions that these sorts of controllers need to have are things like data rate for both input and output, loop rate for safety, watchdogs, control of jitter. Perhaps one of the most important things to realize is that in a safety-critical system, you cannot have single points of failure. That means you cannot rely on your controller software alone. I did a real-time system once where we installed processor-independent series relays, each tied to a critical sensor, so that if any of those sensors went to an unsafe range, we could not deliver power to our electrolyzer.

    1.B. You could have remote control and monitoring, which could be nice. But, security definitely becomes a problem at that point.

    1.C. As for communication buses, you can use Ethernet (my favorite), or you could use EtherCAT for deterministic Ethernet, CAN bus, and loads of others.

    3.A. For the automation I did, it was definitely mostly relatively simple DC circuits for sensors and actuators. The most complicated circuit I designed used three relays to control a pump that depended on two level switches. I had to use digital logic to design that circuit.

    3.B. Power electronics and control are not usually sold in the same platform. You can certainly control power electronics from an automation system, but you'll almost certainly not be able to buy them in the same package, unless you buy some sort of integrated package (like an Outback power management system). If I had to guess, I would say that the control people probably prefer to keep their stuff separate for market reasons.

    3.C. A driver is a piece of software that directly controls hardware. Let's say you have a tunable laser source, and you want to control it. You have an RS-232 communciation channel, and you have a detailed programming manual for the laser source. You will write a driver, so that you have a unified API for access to the functions of the laser source, and your code will look much better as a result.
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