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Industrial Automation



Mobil Oil Yarraville Victoria

This is the job that started it all, based on an IBM-XT personal computer, running MS-DOS. I think the year was 1986. This installation features four stacker cranes and a moderate sized conveyor system, bringing pallet loads from the Fill Hall to the crane infeeds and from the crane outfeeds for forklift collection.

For this installation, I:

  • ported the multi-tasking executive that I had developed for my microprocessor projects,
  • developed, from scratch, a relational database system,
  • wrote the protocol drivers to communicate to the Allen-Bradley PLCs, using the DF-1 protocol,
  • wrote the protocol driver to communicate to the VAX computer, which was providing product details for the loads as they emerged from the Fill Hall and to request the retrieval of loads.
  • created diagnostic screens to present the status of the serial communications and
  • created diagnostic screens to present the data files of the PLCs.

One of the more unique features of this software, judging from reactions at the time, was that the software waited until the load arrived at the crane infeed before it assigned it a destination within the high-rise storage. It managed to work out where to place the load without any delay. This is a feature of the software that remains to this day, and allows it to make the assignment of its destination at the most appropriate time.

Communications between the “Movement Controller” and the cranes is via high voltage bus bars.

The crane and conveyor PLCs were all Allen-Bradley.