A Sequential Control Language for Industrial Automation

Abstract: Current market trends for industrial automation are the need for customizable production, shorter time to market, and powerful global competitive pressure. Based on these trends two challenges have been identified: 1) flexible production systems and 2) integration and utilization of devices and software. Applications from both process automation, manufacturing, and robotics have been considered. More flexible languages and tools are needed to get a flexible production system. The graphical programming language Grafchart, based on the IEC 61131-3 standard language Sequential Function Charts (SFC), is considered with the aim to make both the language and its implementation more flexible. In particular, new constructs have been added to the Grafchart language and modern compiler techniques are evaluated for JGrafchart, a Grafchart implementation, with focus on an extensible language implementation. A first step toward real-time execution of Grafchart applications is also taken to make it possible to use Grafchart for hard real-time control. High execution rates often reveal concurrency issues and thus execution concurrency has also been investigated. Access to more data from industrial devices and software can be used to optimize production. Architectures for factory integration have been considered as this is the foundation to connect all devices and thus address the challenge of integrating and utilizing devices and software. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a flexible software design methodology widely used in IT systems and for business processes. SOA service orchestration is brought to industrial automation by integrating support for both Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS) and OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) in JGrafchart. Looking further, SOA 2.0 is event driven and features extremely loose coupling between components. An architecture based on SOA 2.0 where it is easy to integrate any device or software, in particular legacy devices with limited knowledge and capabilities, has been developed with focus on service choreography in industrial manufacturing. Another step toward real-time execution of Grafchart applications is integrated support for the high performance communication protocol LabComm. Additionally, it is investigated how Grafchart can be connected to Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) for co-simulation to further address the shorter time to market trend by introducing simulation support. The PID controller is the most common controller for industrial automation. A PID implementation has been added to a Grafchart library and a flaw with the PID algorithm has been discovered. The problem occurs for PID controllers with a derivative part when the process value saturates. The derivative part then backs off which leads to undesired changes in the control signal. This issue has been analyzed and a solution to the problem is proposed.