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IEC 61131-3-based holonic control of a reconfigurable manufacturing subsystem

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Researchers in reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) have generally used the agent-based control (ABC). Due to the industry’s hesitance to adopt ABC, this paper evaluates the reconfigurability of a control system developed with the industry-accepted technologies, i.e. IEC 61131-3 programming languages, a Beckhoff embedded PC and Beckhoff’s programming software, TwinCAT. The evaluation focuses on a station controller that controls a reconfigurable subsystem in an RMS. The control system, implemented in an ADACOR-based holonic architecture, was evaluated by conducting reconfiguration experiments using a laboratory case study. This paper shows that a reconfigurable station controller can be implemented using IEC 61131-3 and industry-accepted technologies if a hardware platform is used that allows multiple virtual programmable logic controllers to be run in individual threads. The control approach presented here can be used to create station control systems that offer optimised cycle times, the benefits of an RMS and the benefits of industry-accepted technology.
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Keywords: Beckhoff PLC; IEC 61131; holonic manufacturing system (HMS); reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Publication date: May 3, 2016

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