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Pneumatic System

Problem:
In transfer station, parts are to be transferred from a vertical magazine by cylinder 2A, cycle
starts upon receiving signals from PLC. Limit Switches are used to confirm cylinder
positions.

Figure 1.1: Positional Sketch

Figure 1.2: Procedure for development and implementation of an electropneumatic


control system

Solution:

Function: Drive 2A uses a Pilot-Actuated 5/3-way Double Solenoid Valve and pushes the
work pieces onto roller conveyor upon receiving signal from PLC.

Specification: Stroke of 250mm with force of at least 400N for cylinder 2A, this
specifications act as a benchmark to choose cylinders, using catalogue of pneumatic
manufacturers. Festo DNGUL-32-250-PPV-A was choosen for cylinder 2A.

Components used:

Signal Input: Limit Switches and Inductive Sensor of type SMTO-1-PS-K-LED24.

Signal Processing Element: Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Relays.

Signal Output Control Elements: Electropneumatically operated directional


control valves.

Figure 1.3: Solenoid Control Valves

Command Execution Power Components: Double Acting Cylinder

Figure 1.4: Cylinder

Power Supply Networks:

Compressed air network (p=0.6 MPa or 6 bar)

Electrical Network of 240 V AC

Electrical Signal Control Section to be operated within 24 V DC.

Sequence:

Step 1: Receives signal when magazine is placed in transfer station.

Step 2: Receives signal from PLC for preparation for pushing mechanism.

Step 3: Parts are pushed out of magazine by advance of cylinder 2A (limit switch,
2B2).

Step 4: Cylinder 2A retracts and back to initial position (limit switch, 2B1).

Step 5: Signal send to PLC on completion of each cycle for calculation of parts
pushed by counter.

Figure 1.5: Circuit Diagram

Figure 1.6: Movement cycle of the pushing mechanism device

Figure 1.7: Displacement-step diagram for the pushing device.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

Automated Guided Vehicles are vehicles that are equipped with autonomous guidance
systems and are capable of following prescribed paths. They are driverless vehicles that are
programmed to follow a guided path.

According to Wikipedia, an AGV is a mobile robot that follows markers or wires in the floor,
or uses vision or lasers. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials
around a manufacturing facility or a warehouse.

The main benefits to AGV are that they reduce labour costs. But, in terms of material
handling facilities there is another benefit. Material handling has always been dangerous.
Injuries occur due to lack of driver attention, drivers driving too fast, or personnel not paying
attention. Obstacle detection is therefore a key to allowing AGVs to interact with personnel
safely while optimizing vehicle speeds.

Curent AGV had transformed from electromagnetic wires buried in the floor, to laser guided
system. Currently, new advanced virtual bumpers may eliminate safety problems and
allows AGVs to operate at optimum speeds.

Types of Navigation in AGVs


i.

Wired

ii.

Guide Tape

iii.

Laser Target Navigation

iv.

Gyroscopic Navigation

v.

Natural Features Navigation

vi.

Steering Control

vii.

Vision Guidance

Traffic control for AGVs


Traffic control is essential so that AGVs will not run into one another. There are 3 types of
controls:

(i)

Zone Control

Zone control is the favourite of most environments

It is simple to install and easy to expand.

Uses a wireless transmitter to transmit a signal in a fixed area.

Each AGV contains a sensing device to receive this signal and transmit back to the
transmitter.

If the area is clear the signal is set at clear allowing any AGV to enter and pass through
the area. When an AGV is in the area the stop signal is sent and all AGV attempting to
enter the area stop and wait for their turn. Once the AGV in the zone has moved out
beyond the zone the clear signal is sent to one of the waiting AGVs.

Zone control traffic management can also be set-up to equip each individual robot with its
own small transmitter/receiver. The individual AGV then sends its own do not enter
message to all the AGVs getting to close to its zone in the area.

Disadvantage: if one zone goes down all the AGVs are at risk to collide with any other
AGV.

Advantage: Zone control is a cost efficient way to control the AGV in an area.

(ii)

Forward sensing control

Uses collision avoidance sensors to avoid collisions with other AGV in the area.

Most AGVs are equipped with a bumper sensor of some sort as a fail safe.

Disadvantage: they can only protect the AGV from so many sides. They are relatively
hard to install and work with as well.

(iii)

Combination control

Uses collision avoidance sensors as well as the zone control sensors. The combination
of the two helps to prevent collisions in any situation. For normal operation the zone
control is used with the collision avoidance as a fail safe. For example, if the zone
control system is down, the collision avoidance system would prevent the AGV from
colliding.

Analysis of AGV Systems


AGV analysis is used to determine:
i.

Number of AGVs required

ii.

Cycle Times

iii.

Handling System efficiency

Assumption: Vehicle operates at constant speed, V. The acceleration, deceleration and other
effects that influence the speed are ignored.

Parameters of time for a typical delivery cycle in the operation of the vehicle inclues:

Loading at the pick-up station, Ti (min)

Unloading at the drop off stations, Tu (min)

Travel time to the drop off station, Tt

Empty travel time of the vehicle between deliveries, Te

Total cycle time per delivery per vehicle is given by


Tv Tl Tu

Ld Le

v
v

Where, Tv = Delivery cycle time (min/delivery)


Th=Tl+Tu= Handling time (min)
Ld=Distance vehicle travels between load and unload station (m)
Le=Distance empty until the start of next delivery cycle (m)
v=velocity (m/min)

Tv can be used to determine the rate of deliveries per vehicle and number of vehicles
required.

The hourly rate of deliveries per vehicle is 60 minutes divided by the delivery cycle time, Tv,
with adjusting for any time losses during the hour.

Possible time losses include availability, traffic congestion, and efficiency of manual driver.

Traffic factor lies between 0.85~1


Number of deliveries per hour per vehicle= 60 Ft/Tv

OR

Number of deliveries per hour per vehicle=

Handling system efficiency, E h= {

Ld
Ft
v

(60 Eh)

Ld
L
Th e
v
v

Ld / v

Number of deliveries required per hour


Number of deliveries
Number of AGVs required=
hour
vehicle

Vision Guided AGV by SEEGRID

This AGV was chosen for our process plant.


Vision-Guided AGVs can be installed with no modifications to the environment or
infrastructure. They operate by using cameras to record features along the route, allowing the
AGV to replay the route by using the recorded features to navigate. Vision-Guided AGVs use
Evidence Grid technology, an application of probabilistic volumetric sensing, and was
invented and initially developed by Dr. Moravec at Carnegie Mellon University. The
Evidence Grid technology uses probabilities of occupancy for each point in space to
compensate for the uncertainty in the performance of sensors and in the environment. The
primary navigation sensors are specially designed stereo cameras. The vision-guided AGV
uses 360-degree images and build a 3D map, which allows the vision-guided AGVs to follow
a trained route without human assistance or the addition of special features, landmarks or
positioning systems.

Figure 1.8: Indoor Environment

Figure 1.9: Grid Map for Figure 1.8

Lately a new implementation method that allows real time simultaneous path planning and
obstacle avoidance using Distance Transform.

The AGV product is called Seegrid GP 8 Pallet truck. The unmanned GP8 pallet truck
transports products with vision-guided technology. By positioning the GP8s forks under the
pallets intended to move, with given input on the route through keypad, the AGV travels
without wires, tapes or lasers. From putaway, transfers and selection, to long hauls and crossdocking, the GP8 will reduce cost per move. Extend workforce productivity, improve safety
and lower operating costs are achievable while giving operations personnel truck and route
control.

(a
)

(b
)

(c
)

(d
)

Figure 2.0(a)~(d): Screenshot on GP 8 avoiding collision with another AGV.

(a

(b

(c

Figure 2.1(a)~(c): Screenshot on GP 8 given input on route and process the input.

Benefits
In the case study on Hearth & Home, using Seegrid Robotic Industrial Trucks and the
patented, vision-guided WalkThruThenWork technology was able to experience benefit by
i) as no costly expansion or need of redesign of the warehouse, ii) fast and effective
deployment within hours instead of days, iii) no external guides as magnets to make changes
or service, iv) ability to change route quickly and easily, and v) facilitates lean process
initiatives and optimization.

Thus GP8 AGV can increase productivity and has labour savings thru deployment of labour
to other production areas.

Figure 2.2:Key Feature of SEEGRID GP8.