The Austrian-based customer is a global manufacturer of sophisticated test and measurement equipment for the automotive industry. One of the customer's key business areas is the production of equipment for vehicle emission testing.
Vehicle emission testing is a complex multi-step process involving many procedures. One of the tests includes determination of the amount of carbon sludge on special filters by weighing. Filters catch particulates from exhaust gas using special equipment. During the testing process, a large number of filters (up to 640) with different sizes and densities are used.
The filters must be weighed at a strictly defined time. There are legal requirements to hold some filters for a specified time before weighing under certain conditions. The priority of the filters in the weighing queue is determined by the requirements of a particular test.
The weighing process is automated to increase efficiency and prevent errors. The filter weighing robotic system consists of two robots, two scales and control software.
The customer needed to develop a dispatcher to control the load distribution in order to optimize performance and minimize equipment downtime.
- Ensuring uniform loading of equipment in automatic mode,
- Ability to correct the loading of scales in the manual mode,
- Easy integration with the customer's automated test system.
Applied Systems engineers reviewed the requirements for the filter weighing robotic system, analyzed operating scenarios and developed proposals for the implementation of a dispatcher, a tool for controlling the load distribution of weighing equipment. We offered to integrate dispatcher into the customer's control software.
Our team developed the dispatcher functionality, graphical user interface, and created interfaces with the customer's automated test system.
The control software operates filter weighing robotic system. The control program manages the robots, configures the equipment, monitors the ambient conditions (temperature, humidity, dew point, pressure) in the weighing chamber and the compliance of the measured data with legal requirements, evaluates the data, and exports it to the automated test system.
The operator of the customer's automated test system schedules test orders for a certain period of time. The dispatcher reads this information and configures the equipment based on the received data. The dispatcher controls the load distribution between the robots in real time.
The load dispatcher can operate in automatic and manual modes. In automatic mode, the dispatcher distributes the robot load equally to speed up the weighing process and meet legal requirements for filter weighing times, considering filters priority and equipment downtime. The operator can control the load of a particular robot, evenly distribute it, or increase the load on one of the robots.
We have created a GUI that displays the loading process of robots in real time and allows the operator to manage the load distribution and configure equipment according to the requirements of various legislations either in automatic or manual mode.
Our team implemented all of the customer's requirements within the planned time frame. The created dispatcher is integrated into the filter weighing robotic system and enables to optimize the equipment usage, reduce the load of the system operator as well as minimize the probability of errors in the filter weighing process.