An application of an ethernet based protocol for communication and control in automated manufacturing
The exchange of information in the industrial environment is essential in order to achieve complete integration and control of manufacturing processes. At present the majority of devices present in the shop floor environment are still used as stand alone machines. They do not take advantage of the possibilities offered by a communication link to improve the manufacturing process. The subject of this research has been centered on the development of a simple, flexible and inexpensive support system for communication and control of manufacturing processes. As a result, a system with these features has been proposed and implemented on a simulated workcell. The area footwear manufacturing was chosen for modelling the workcell. The components of the manufacturing support system were developed using an object oriented approach which allowed modularity and software reuse. In order to achieve communication between the components, a communication protocol was developed following the process defined in the rapid protocol implementation framework. Ethernet was selected for implementing the lower levels of the protocol. Java, a new object oriented programming language used for the implementation of the system, showed that it could became a promising language for the implementation of manufacturing applications. In particular the platform independence feature of the language allows the immediate porting of applications to systems with different features. The manufacturing cell simulation had shown that the times associated with the manufacturing support system operations are compatible for its use in applications where the response times are in the order of one second.