Enhancing Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems Using Rail Guided Vehicles

Posted by Chuck Harrell on Dec 14, 2015 10:08:00 AM

For decades, Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) have been widely used in industries to handle a variety of storage applications.   By leveraging computer and communication technologies, Rail Guided Vehicles (RGV) are regarded as crucial to ASRS in the automatic transportation of materials and goods without the need for an on board operator or driver.  In response to the revolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, conventional systems must advance with the times to provide more reliable and easy-to-integrate features to efficiently control the entire process while ensuring accuracy and integrity.  For this, Advantech introduces a highly robust solution to solve the problem of stability in a traditional IPC and offers a common open architecture to facilitate system integration and expansion.

System Requirements

With many years experience in the ASRS business, a well-known company has installed hundreds of sets of integrated solutions to help various industries decrease the amount of labor for transporting items through their warehouses.  Recently, the company planned to enhance its existing RGV system in order to increase the efficiency and reliability of storage and the retrieval process.  Since IPC is the kernel of the RGV, the related hardware upgrade is the first step to more accurately perform the procedure.  For this, the new computer has to provide outstanding features to improve hardware performance such as having good anti-vibration and anti-shock properties for moving vehicles to prevent unstable system operation; better connection methods to fasten the interface cards or modules as well as lessening the oxidation problems in rough environments; open modular architecture to painlessly upgrade the legacy hardware and easily integrate other systems. Furthermore, overall planning with technical support is also important for this project to shorten the learning curve of system developers to accelerate the system upgrade.

System Description

To facilitate this upgrade, Advantech proposed the MIC-3100 series of products including: the modular industrial chassis with rugged flexibility, high performance CompactPCI blade with dual core processor, and a wide range of I/O & communication cards with isolation protection to retrofit the old automatic warehouse system RGVs. Because of their higher shock and vibration resistance, the new IPC enables the automation system to have superior reliability without worrying about abnormal operation or unexpected shutdown. By using hard fixed pin metric connectors instead of the gold PCB fingers, it has better durability and air tightness than standard consumer grade computers to withstand harsh environmental conditions for a longer period.

This total solution also includes other accessories being developed by Advantech such as tailor-made brackets and wiring boards so that Advantech’s IPC can fit perfectly into the holes of the machine cabinet without greatly changing the original hardware design. Compared to the PLC-based system with their closed design architecture, the MIC-3100 is an open, modular, and PC-based platform to help developers easily expand their system through adding extra cards according to practical demands. By supporting the latest Operating Systems and easy-to-use drivers it also allows users to design advanced functions as well as effortlessly integrating other systems. Furthermore, the local FAE can offer customized technical services to help users quickly complete the system enhancements.


Topics: Data Acquisition & Communication

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