Wireless and Distributed Automation System with Smart Update
Project ID: AEE-2016-35
Students: Laura Gröhn, Samuli Metsälä, Magnus Nyholm, Lauri Saikko, Eero Väänänen
Project manager: Laura Gröhn
Instructor: Valeriy Vyatkin
Other advisors: Kashif Gulzar
Starting date: 11.1.2016
Completion date: 19.12.2016
Overview and Objectives
This project was about implementing and analyzing a system consisting of intelligent mechatronic devices controlled with distributed wireless automation. While making the system more flexible and easier to reconfigure, we wanted to develop a concept for the smart software update. Validating the concept required improving existing software by iteratively prototyping our approach on the automation demonstrator. We were able to demonstrate step by step how to manage updating the control software on the fly without any further hassle. In the course of the project we studied the effects of wireless communication on system performance compared to the more traditional wired solution. Hereby, we evaluated the applicability of standard WiFi technology to industrial automation. We enhanced performance and reliability of the wireless system by mapping out factors causing differing results of systems with wired versus wireless connectivity.
The main goal of the project was to investigate and compare the use of wireless, intelligent mechatronic devices to the traditional automation approach implemented with wired components. In the project we created a distributed automation system using FESTO EnAS platform as our testbed. In order to gather performance data for each of these, we planned a number of preparative tasks that needed to be accomplished.
Based on the performance data gathered for different setups as well as experiences had while implementing the development phases we were able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. The framework of the study places modern automation needs such as flexibility and reconfigurability as some key metrics of interest due to recent development in the industry towards mass customization and modularity in the production.
The reasoning behind the project is simple. We wanted to provide some tangible output for researching wireless and distributed automation. The project provides a set of feasible and costeffective concepts for system integrators and consulting companies providing automation solutions to build on. Our approach benefits mainly companies providing the customer with consulting on developing, building and automating new production lines, as well as providing maintenance services. The project work materializes in an automation demonstrator system which is a prototype used to demonstrate our approach. Our expertise is knowing how distributed automation solutions can achieve tangible business improvements for our customers in terms of flexibility, reconfigurability, ease of maintenance and reduced downtime.
You can download a photocollection here.
All documentation can be found on our web page nxtdemo.com. In case the domain is not working anymore or has been redirected to this site, a documentation file can be found below in the documents section in pdf format.
Sources for both the PLC configuration as well as for the simulation model can be found in attachments.
The final report of the project and the poster for final gala can be found below in documents section.
Summary of results
All the planned control logic were successfully implemented and the simulation model created. The demonstration was successful and we managed to showcase also the concept of smart updates while presenting the results at SPS IPC Drives 2016 in Nuremberg. A comparison between the wired and the wireless solution showed that in a factorylike environment there was no visible difference in performance while not taking into account connectivity problems in spaces with a lot of external wireless traffic. However, the solution is not perfect yet and it remains to be seen how the distributed and wireless solutions will be developed further in the future and wheter they really will grow in number as dramatically as expected.