Industrial Automation

The world is seeing a rapid advancement in deployment and automation of industrial machines. We live in a time with high availability of real-time sensor information as well as increasing computational power in such systems, both of which are yet to be fully exploited. Embotech’s FORCESPRO enables you to shift from making an industrial system simply operate, to optimizing its performance potential by deploying and fully utilizing the power of real-time numerical optimization technology. With our embeddable software, optimal trade-offs between maximum productivity vs. accuracy and process quality requirements are achieved, giving the users of automated industrial machines maximum flexibility for machine operation. Find in the following some of the applications that have been successfully developed with FORCESPRO.

Time Optimal Collaborative Bin Picking

PROBLEM

Within smart factories, robots work interactively together instead of having separate spaces. This increases the risk of collisions and thus makes motion planning much more demanding. To fully exploit the potential, the motion has to be planned for all robots such that a coordinated motion results. The resulting trajectory should avoid collision while handling the task in a time-optimal manner.

SOLUTION

FORCESPRO has been successfully applied for collaborative bin-picking. Specifically, a bending process was automated with two robots. These robots perform their handling tasks in one joint work space. As different tasks need to be fulfilled by the robot, e.g. bin-picking + alignment + material handling, a complex action plan needs to be set up.

RESULTS

By using FORCESPRO the motion plan can be generated intuitively with drastically reduced programming efforts. A path can be found for both robots that allows a significant reduction of the cycle time. Compared to the previous solution implemented a reduction of 30% in cycle time has been achieved while the two robots operate with safety distances to each other.

INNOVATIVE WIND TURBINE CONTROL

 

PROBLEM

Wind turbine control systems are essential to maximize power extraction from the wind while minimizing structural loads.  The control system consists of various parts, such as the yaw controller, responsible for aligning the wind turbine with the wind direction, and a production controller, responsible for setting the desired pitch angle of the blades and the desired power output from the electrical converter. At the same time modes for low wind speed and high wind speed need to be taken care of.

SOLUTION

The challenges associated with wind turbine control systems can be overcome with a model predictive control (MPC) algorithm using FORCESPRO. The holistic MPC approach with a physics-based model eliminates the switching between different modes and can deliver high performance for all operating conditions. The model-based design approach significantly lowers the number of tuning parameters, and exposes in an intuitive manner the trade-offs between power output and structural loads that are inherent to any turbine design.

RESULTS

MPC controllers generated with FORCESPRO were embedded in wind turbine control software and deployed to turbines in the field where they are operating flawlessly for years. Compared to the traditional control system, they can reduce the mechanical loads, while  at least the same amount of energy is extracted from the wind. Due to its physics-based nature, the approach can be easily transferred to other wind turbines. This is especially advantageous, as manufacturers offer various modularized configurations of wind turbines.

ADvanced Control of CNC Machines

PROBLEM

Smart factories are characterized by highly flexible production facilities that allow to produce small lot sizes in a cost-effective and fast manner. One aspect concerns the introduction of intelligence for the process operation. The intelligence of the industrial automation machines, such as CNC machines, can be increased by advanced process operation. In many CNC machines, such as laser cutting, the cycle time plays an inevitable role while a high cutting quality needs to be ensured.

SOLUTION

CNC controlled machines can be significantly improved by the application of FORCESPRO. A model is needed that captures the dynamics of the machine as well as the effects of the cutting process. Based on this model, an optimization-based controller can be developed. The controller calculates an optimal motion plan and the best possible process parameters for the cutting process. The optimization-based approach allows to directly specify targets of the process operation such as the increase of manufacturing speeds.

 

RESULTS

FORCESPRO has been succesfully applied for improving the process operation of a CNC machine. Within the use case, for any part that is cut, FORCESPRO calculates the best possible movement and process parameters.  The controller was designed to reduce the cutting time while achieving similar levels of precision of the produced parts and vibrational load of the machine. This increases the manufacturing speeds such that the cycle time can be reduced.

Looking for more information?

 

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