PLCbatch – FAQ
Which commercial PLC platforms is it compatible with?
It is compatible with Mitsubishi, Siemens, (Allen Bradley in future).
Does it actually include a PLC executable that interprets PLC-based recipes or does it just assemble/download PLC code from the recipes?
The system consists of a PLC executable (i.e. interpreter) that interprets PLC-based tabular recipes.
How does it interface and with which PC-based recipe execution systems to manage equipment allocation, batch parameters/records, and the downloading of partial recipes (e.g., unit recipes or operations)?
The system does not include any PC-based recipe execution system.
PC part of the system covers the following functions:
- equipment editor,
- recipe editor,
- batch management, including batch creation, batch downloading, batch state tracking and batch archiving.
PLC part of the system covers the following functions:
- executing batches (executing, i.e. interpreting recipe tables),
- managing equipment allocation,
- controlling individual phases.
- Does it support other state-transition models besides S88’s example, such as Pack ML (unit level) or user-defined?
PLCBatch defines its own state-transition model, which is an extension of the S88 model, similar to the Statecharts model (superstates and substates, entry, loop and exit actions of the states, actions of the transitions). The model is on a higher abstraction level than the S88 model and consequently more powerful. It is important to note that the model is tailorable, meaning that the programmer can choose his/her own state-transition model, based on any subset of the PLCBatch state model (hence also the pure S88 model is possible). The programmer has only to fill the sequences of the model he defined and the phase logic interface (which is a part of the interpreter) takes over the execution of the model.
Are the “procedure tables” graphically represented using SFC format in the recipe editor and batch view?
The procedure tables are in a tabular form. The main idea is to have an overview of the process also via HMI panels, therefore the tabular presentation is used. The future development could include graphical SFC presentation of recipes, based on sufficient interest.
How much (%) of PLC memory and CPU time does the batch server generally require? Including client activity? Will users have to buy more PLCs to support the extra loading?
The required size of the memory and CPU time depends of the process size. Typically, the PLCBatch uses about 50% resources for procedural control and other 50% for basic process control. Most of the applications could run batch and basic control algorithms on the same PLC. Only when pretension functions are required (complex batch process or high speed basic control) two separate PLCs will be suggested for batch and basic control. In this case, two different brand PLCs could also be used (if using one open communication protocol).
The Batch clients (PCs) will not require any special performance and would be able to run on average computer. This computer could be used also for other tasks, like remote process control, normal office work, etc.
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