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Industrial Automation



Defining Heavy-Unit-Load Conveyor System

It is the configurability of the “Movement Controller” software, which sets it apart from other software.

The main part of configuring the heavy-unit-load conveyor system is to specify the conveyors constituting the system and how they connect, then to place the devices on and around these conveyors.

However, occasionally you encounter a new type of device, which needs to be defined. This is the most complex part of the definition, but it is not common, and as it is logically the first step, you may wish to go to the “Device Type Definition” now.

The specification of the conveyor system is accomplished in the five steps illustrated below (from the MS-DOS version of the “Movement Controller”):

Screen dump from DOS version of
Movement Controller, showing the
steps involved in specifying the heavy-unit-load conveyor system, converted to a
“gif” file, thereby losing some of the colour definition

The first step is to erase any previous system definition. The operator has merely to confirm that this is the intention.

The second step is to enter the runs of conveyors, beginning with the rear conveyor in each run. If transfers are to occur in both directions, repeat starting at the other end and work backwards. It is best to do all transfers for all conveyors with a given orientation before moving onto those with another orientation.

The third step is to enter the number of loads, which can be accommodated by each conveyor, where this number is other than one, then stipulate where the rise-fall conveyors are located. Here the operator must adjust the tables generated by the previous step.

The fourth step is to set the destination numbers for the points at which there are alternative paths open to a load. A transfer can be enabled if the load's destination is one of up to six specified numbers or else all but one of the specified numbers. Here the operator is presented with the decision points sequentially and must enter suitable values into the tables provided.

The final step is to enter the user-definable devices, specifying the device type, associated or nearest conveyor, and its distance from it. Here again the operator is required to enter these parameters into a table.

When complete, it is necessary to process the definition to create the PLC code and the Operator Interface, as below (from the MS-DOS version of the “Movement Controller”):

Screen dump from DOS version of
Movement Controller, showing the
steps involved in generating the heavy-unit-load conveyor system software from
the specification, converted to a “gif” file, thereby losing some
of the colour definition

The first step here is to generate the source code for the PLC code compiler, the symbols for the inputs and outputs for the PLC code (these will need to be assigned to the actual I/O by editing XXXXXXXX.AIN to XXXXXXXX.ASC), the remaining symbols for the PLC code, the text for the alarms, the names for the conveyors and the system diagram definition. There is no operator interaction in this step.

The next step is to edit the PLC code to set traffic control algorithms and to write code not directly associated with the conveyor system. You may also use your preferred text editor on these files.

The third step is to compile the PLC source code to generate the “.PC5” file, which may be imported to the A-B programming software as well as this software. There is no operator interaction in this step.

The fourth step allows you to view any errors, which may have resulted from the compilation.

The final step is to load the compiled PLC code (the “.PC5” file) into the software and start it executing. This allows testing of the configuration and to control the plant as a soft-PLC. There is no operator interaction in this step.

For detailed information on how to define the conveyor system, please refer to the Operator's Manual setcions Defining the Heavy-Unit-Load Conveyor System, Enter or Modify Device Types, Fast Definition of Conveyor System, Enter or Modify the Conveyors, Enter or Modify the Transfers, and Create, Edit, Compile and Execute.