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Basic control system for logistics centers of a well-known automobile manufacturing company

The logistics centers of a well-known German automobile manufacturing company control the worldwide distribution of spare parts for all of its models. With the benefit of modern techniques for conveyors plus powerful IT systems, the average commissioning time has been greatly reduced.
Now the opportunity exists to introduce a system for visualizing both materials handling processes and building automation across the logistics centers in a stepwise manner in Germany and other European countries. Thus a consistent mode of operation and a HMI can be furnished for the maintenance teams on the various sites so as to afford the same ease of use across all locations.
Cegelec AT GmbH & Co. KG Frankfurt/Main has worked on this with the planning department of the central logistics center of this automobile manufacturer. Together they have developed an application using the pcVue SCADA system to serve as the basis for future implementation on the various sites.

cegelec pcvueThe HMI provides all of the information, run-time functionality, input masks for data and configuration options. It has to support the operator by displaying all necessary information in the clearest way possible.
The innovative screen layout guarantees that the user interface makes it easy to find the required information by defining local regions with consistent functionality and appearance.

The active regions of an image are marked as such; for example, buttons and controls are displayed in relief under the mouse pointer.
All commands have to be confirmed in a separate dialog box before being sent to the process level, so that commands cannot be triggered by accident.
All operator stations are provided with a multilingual capability. Languages including German, French, English and Spanish may be used as the project language, whilst any two languages may be chosen for the HMI PcVue functionality, alarm counters are created for domains and natures according to the chosen naming conventions.
In addition to the required object orientation, the pcVue system adopted also offers client server architecture, redundancy and the ability to integrate databases for data archiving.
Storing the archived data in a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database enables the personnel to analyze the collected information with standard tools such as Microsoft Office.
Operational logs and alarm logs can thus be configured, displayed and archived in a database for further reporting.
The following requirements for archiving and traceability of statistical data are met:
- Conveyances (jobs), scanner readings, efficiency and reading quality are distilled into hourly, daily and monthly values for the past 12 months
- Scanner readings for the past month
- Trend archive for the past 12 months
- Operations log for the past 12 months
- Alarm log for the past 12 months.

To create mimics for different sites, you can use the graphic symbols from a common symbol library that is included.
These symbols may be inserted into the images and animated by assigning a variable name when you are creating the visualization.
The symbol library includes symbols and mimics for all aggregate types that were created during development of the project to provide user functionality. Via the definition of variables and objects, the system provides all the necessary command functionality for each object.
3D mimics can be created in the pcVue editor, while 3D models can be imported from Microsoft‘s Direct X format.
pcVue offers the further option of inserting graphics in all the common formats, such as .BMP, .JPG, .WMF and .EMF as images.
pcVue stores the whole object model in a comma-separated ASCII file. This allows for automated creation of the object model from an interface provided by the supplier of the material handling hardware, via suitable tools such as Excel macros, provided that all the necessary interface documentation is available.

The basic application was developed to also meet the requirements of the building automation systems. This has unified the operation of facilities
at sites where material handling is integrated with building management in a single application.
Typical site configurations include a server, which can also be a redundant server association, connected to PLCs (of the type Siemens S7-400) and the option of connecting a larger number of operating stations (clients) in parallel. To meet the logistics center’s requirements, clients are operated as terminal clients (via Remote Terminal Services), what necessitates the use of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition as the server’s operating system. Thus the complete functionality of the application is available to the clients from any location.
When the entire installation is complete, there will even be the option to connect all of the systems on the various sites via the company’s existing networking infrastructure. Then all clients of the servers in this distributed architecture will be available at one centralized site. In case of failure, an additional server available centrally could take over the role of one of the decentralized servers.
Operators can log onto the servers at fixed operator stations over Windows Terminal Service (Remote Desktop) or over an intranet or the Internet by using pcVue’s web client WebVue. So each client–local or via the Internet–will have access to the mimics of all the servers without any modification being required.