COMPANY SERVICES - REAL TIME CONTROL
Pan Controls Limited was set up in February 1986 specifically to provide services in the field of industrial automation. The company is now well established and has accumulated considerable experience in real time control for a wide range of automation projects.
MOTION CONTROL SYSTEM
The company has designed and produced a family of control systems, operator interfaces, and the software necessary to drive them. The controllers vary from single axis self contained units, which can be run with simple programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or switches, to complex multi-axis systems which can be integrated with other real time computing control operations. They can also be linked with higher level management computing systems.
The standard software has been developed to solve engineering problems, and a simple flexible programming language has been developed. This allows control over a large range of parameters, including overshoot, backlash, creep, regstration, and tolerances. It includes commands for executing sequences of moves, profiled moves, communicating with PLCs and responding intelligently to error conditions. The majority of engineering problems can be solved with the standard software. Particular attention has been placed on the precise coordination of several axes. In addition, sophisticated debugging tools have been developed to analyse the asynchronous activity of a complex control system. As far as a user is concerned this is now easy to achieve.
The control systems have been packaged in such a way that no knowledge of its internal workings is required by a user. Users can simply treat it as a black box which can be programmed to achieve any required motion. It can be thought of as a tool for the Mechanical Engineer to solve problems with.
Whilst there is a range of standard controllers which can be programmed for a wide range of applications, any specialised control requirement, which may not be soluble using the standard software and hardware can be catered for. A considerable amount of Pan Controls' business is based on solving customers' specialised problems. The approach is normally to extend the existing language syntax to cater for a particular requirement.
The control systems vary from simple single axis systems up to 8 axes. They can be used for closed loop servo control, using position encoders, or stepper systems, or a combination. Communication drivers (4 asynchronous serial channels CAN-bus, and stepper clock and direction drivers) are provided on backplanes integrated with isolated power supplies. Setting up can be carried out by from a Personal Computer, and free communication software is available. An operator interface, which consists of a keypad and 4-line Vacuum Fluorescent Display unit, and optional rotary knob (for inching set-up operations). Programming is all carried out from the motion controller.
THIRD PARTY COMPONENTS
Obviously any complete system will require motors, drives, encoders and other sundry components. We maintain links with several suppliers of these components and so can advise on the appropriate choice of motor etc. and can obtain them at advantageous rates.
The customer has a better understanding of the mechanics of their machine than we will have. We therefore prefer that they provide staff to fit motors, encoders etc. whilst we set up the electronics. If this is not possible we can arrange to sub-contract the mechanical work.
We maintain close links with a number of special purpose machine builders who have expertise in building a wide range of machines from heavy steel mill equipment down to tiny electronic component handling equipment. We are happy to arrange joint ventures with such companies to build custom machinery.
We have accumulated considerable expertise in the wider field of industrial computing. If there is interest in networking, data gathering, multiplexing, real time control or performance monitoring we may be able to help.
As software is developed, it is made available on the Pan Controls Bulletin board. On the higher end controllers, these upgrades can be installed directly from a personal computer, without the need for an EPROM programmer. On the entry level single axis controllers, an EPROM programmer is required. A web site on the World Wide Web (Internet) is currently being designed, and software upgrades will be available from this site.
If you require local support or a
complete automation system we have distributors who can provide this service.
We have done work for a wide range of clients from the commercial, industrial, research and educational fields, including such names as: