The Need for The Virtual Commissioning of Automated Systems
Common to all automated material handling system (AMHS) projects is the challenge of commissioning, when hardware first meets the control software, products are introduced into the system, and operators are trained in its correct operation. Emulate3D Controls Testing allows more comprehensive testing, earlier in the project cycle, and at a lower cost, than is possible using traditional techniques.
Each System is a Prototype
Despite the widespread use of standard components in automated systems, customer requirements make each one a prototype in need of thorough testing. Decisions taken at the design stage determine the cost of ownership, throughput, flexibility, and ease of use of the resulting system. Pre-production acceptance testing is the last minute confirmation of the quality of these decisions, when few modifications outside of the control system are possible.
Advantages of Offline Controls Testing
Offline controls testing using Emulate3D Controls Testing results in huge benefits. As soon as the design and planning phase of the project is complete the control system is built, ready for testing. Not only is this off the critical path, but it is also unrelated to the state of the hardware.
Test Early, Reduce Costs
Control systems are tested against Emulate3D hardware models to verify the expected system operation. End users are shown operational sequences and operators are trained on the real system responses. Interface designs and screen layouts are modified and improved. Sensor positioning is determined, and functional parameters tested and optimised. Once the hardware is installed on site, the controls testing phase becomes a checklist for correct connections, as the logical verification of the system is completed off line.
Emulate3D connects to Siemens, Allen-Bradley, and Mitsubishi PLCs using their native protocols, and provides tag connections for Modbus and Excel.