Photo gallery: Industrial PC applications
Janz Automation Systems and Saelig: Industrial PCs used in robotics, oil industry product handling, off-road vehicles, and airport lighting applications deliver ease of use, ruggedness, and flexibility.
Industrial PCs (IPCs) used for robotics, oil industry product handling, off-road vehicles, and airport lighting deliver ease of use, ruggedness, flexibility, and product lifecycle longevity, according to Janz Automation Systems and Saelig. ( Control Engineering provides additional information about how to choose a CANbus-based industrial controller .)
Industrial automation, robotics - touch panel IPC with CoDeSys system for data entry
Herrmann Automationstechnik GmbH manufactures customized, special purpose automation equipment and industrial robots. More than 250 systems have been delivered to customers in the automobile, machine building, and cosmetics industries and to automobile industry suppliers. Herrmann Automationstechnik GmbH selected Janz Automationssysteme AG for support, development, and services, including advice to technical questions during hardware and software development. A customized CoDeSys variation was created to control hardware not supported by CoDeSys. The Janz CANdisplayBox-M12 panel system was selected as the platform, with an emView touch screen display and an embedded PC (emPC-A400), which provides the plant user with optimum usability and information presentation.
CANdisplayBox-M12 (photo) has a 12.1-in. SVGA touch-screen LCD and comes standard with two CAN interfaces to integrate easily with existing networks. Additional interfaces needed were two 10/100 MBit/s Ethernet ports, USB and VGA and Compact Flash memory. The systems also have an extensive operation system support from Microsoft Windows CE to Linux. www.herrmannautomation.de
IPCs for oil industry loading applications
Mess- und Fördertechnik (M+F) is a system provider for many aspects of oil product handling: truck, barge/ship and rail car loading, blending and additive injection, aircraft refueling, pipeline metering, and barrel filling. M+F also supplies on-truck computers. Refueller and Dispenser vehicles are fitted with latest technology for monitoring of fuelling processes - data logging, as well as data communication via WLAN. The IPC, built into the Refueller vehicle cab, shows all relevant data, allowing operator input via touchscreen.
The application required the IPC to:
- Provide reliable in-vehicle performance over years of operation in a vibrating environment;
- Consume little power to avoid overheating in an enclosed housing;
- Work without problem at -20 °C ;
- Use CANbus and touch-screen;
- Have long-term availability to be certified for installation; and
- Boot up quickly when the vehicle starts.
The company chose Janz because of experience with CANbus technology, and support for customization of existing software used in M + F systems.
A Janz CANdisplayBox-M8 was selected as a compact combined CPU/display unit for communicating via CANbus with the fueling system, the display, the user, and, via WLAN, with the main computer. Placing the computer in the vehicle enabled it to clearly show relevant data and alarms, indicating adjustments that may be required, and allowing information to be saved or sent in real time via radio to central control system. Fuelling orders and other relevant information can also be transmitted directly to the vehicle. The Janz CANdisplayBox-M8 (photo) is fitted with an 8.4-in. SVGA LCD display and touch-screen. It offers low power consumption with a 400 MHz CPU and up to 128 MB memory. www.mfx-systems.de
Rugged mobile industrial personal computer (IPC) - Customized car display unit
An off-road vehicle manufacturer wanted to develop a dash-board-mounted CANbus control unit suitable for rugged mobile applications. This implied that no rotating components were allowed. Vital real-time data, such as engine speed, road speed, tire pressure, and other parameters were to be conveniently displayed for the operator.
Design consideration included vibration resistance, extended temperature range operation, daylight display visibility, dimmable display, fast boot-time, a smart power supply to protect the vehicle battery, water-resistant and dust-proof housing and connectors, and compact dimensions. Other criteria include product sustainability for five years and centralized hardware and software expertise.
Janz Automationssysteme met the design-partner requirements, with experience manufacturing CANbus control systems.
The solution was based on an extended temperature range Janz CANmidiBox emPC-A400, combined with a 5.7-in. TFT LCD display. A custom IP65 housing contained suitable connectors for CANbus and other I/O connections.
Modifications were needed to withstand vibration. All selected components required a working temperature specification of -30 °C to 70 °C. For display readability day or night, brightness was auto-adjusted via a CANbus-linked ambient sensor. Since the control unit uses a conventional operating system, some fixed boot time is inevitable, but this was minimized by system optimization and by modifying the power supply. The finished display unit can boot and work almost immediately upon starting the vehicle.
By connecting the display unit directly to the vehicle data bus, different applications are possible for the finished unit, such as periodic data-logging in internal NV-RAM, navigation assistance, reversing camera display, additional driving sensor display or multimedia applications. The image with the steering wheel shows an off-road vehicle design integrates a dash-board-mounted Janz CANmidiBox emPC-A400, combined with a 5.7-in. TFT LCD display (inset).
IPCs for agricultural applications
The demands of grain handling, food processing, and automatic feed control are varied and extremely demanding. Exact dispensing of feed formulations is essential for the safe feeding of domestic animals. Th. Buschhoff GmbH & Co supplies stationary and mobile feed mixing equipment. Progressive customer requirements and the latest technology in food processing require precision, reliable control technology in state-of-the-art mixing equipment.
Buschoff selected Janz to manufacture the control system because of its performance record, product sustainability, and in-house expertise. At the Hannover agricultural machinery trade fair Agritechnica 2009, Buschhoff showed its newest mobile feed mixing equipment Tourmix, with a Janz-sourced computer system communicating with two displays installed in the vehicle. One 12.1-in. touch-screen display is installed in the cab close to the driver to allow easy parameter setting at customer sites to help control, service, and maintain the mixer. This information also is registered at the rear of the truck on an additional display, making the equipment user-friendly. Buschoff mobile equipment for concentrated feed mixing uses Janz controllers (CANflexiBox-C2D and emView-12T/D). The display has an anti-reflective coating to enhance readability even in bright sunlight. CoDeSys - a control software programming tool compliant with IEC 61131-3 - was selected to create a convenient user interface, displaying different information on the two monitors.
Airport navigation lighting IPC - Happy landings
Mannheim-based Lucebit GmbH offers well-designed, extremely reliable airport navigation lighting equipment. In these applications, the company demands a lengthy warranty (as much as 10 years) and CANbus controller expertise. Lucebit chose Janz Automationssysteme AG. Janz and Lucebit developed a custom controller system based on a 1.0 GHz Intel Celeron M ULV with fast I/O capabilities.
The resulting IPC featured the usual industrial controller interfaces (3 x Gigabyte-Ethernet ports, 4 x USB2.0 ports, 2 x serial interfaces and a DVI-I-Interface), along with CANopen and several analog and digital I/Os. The IPC works with Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems. To allow simple integration in new and existing installations, controller dimensions had to be compact. Easy serviceability required connections above and below the system. Status-LEDs and a text-based status line display were located on the front.
- Ulrich Luetke Entrup is with Janz Automation Systems AG, and Alan Lowne with Saelig Co. Inc. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com.