iControl – Warehouse control system (WCS).
The iControl WCS (Warehouse Control System) coordinates, controls and adjusts all processes regarding automated material flows. Equipped with a modular and open-ended configuration, the iControl system allows for dynamic storage allocation management, thus minimizing loading and unloading routes. iControl WCS is perfectly integrated with the iWare warehouse management system and the iMaker production control software.
Handling processes managed by iControl allow for horizontal or vertical material or product transfer from one place to another. In the event of a mere distance to be covered, transfer must be carried out quickly and reliably, as the actual transfer time is considered idle-time. CASSIOLI produces advanced transfer systems, from simple conveyors (tape, chain, slat, belt, roller, etc.) to more complex automated solutions.
The iControl Warehouse control system software represents the logical and physical interface between transfer system PLCs and the iWare warehouse system management system. In addition to providing the perfect integration of CASSIOLI hardware, such as stacker cranes, automatic laser-guided AGV vehicles, self-drive SLS shuttles (Shuttle Loop System), etc., the system also provides a standard interface to communicate with third party field automation devices (heterogeneous PLCs).
In addition to connecting the PLC and the iWare warehouse management, the iControl system can handle asymmetrical work loads and optimize work times and work routes, in accordance with handling requirements associated to the plant’s physical characteristics. Monitoring and control of all transfer systems may be carried out automatically or manually.
The iControl WCS provides for manual control of the transfer system, thereby allowing the operator to solve any possible system errors (for example, a jammed container) without having to intervene on the iWare management system. Manual control of the motors of a transfer device is permitted by means of a graphic touch-screen that interfaces with the PLC by means of a Profibus network. An industrial-type connector is used for the actual connection. The PLC recognizes the device and subsequently connects itself. The terminal allows for real-time display of all PLC inputs and enabling of outputs connected to the motors. The device s used as an alternative to automatic control; functionality is disabled if the area is not in manual mode.
By means of an on-line connection with the iControl system, the automation PLC of the transfer devices may be automatically controlled. The iControl system is equipped to receive mission commands from the iWare WMS and translate them into a format that is compatible with PLC logic. Using the transfer commands and the respective data regarding load units, the PLC control material transfer on the system, guiding them to the allocated destination. Vice versa, managing accurate data tracking during transfer, the iControl informs the iWare regarding mission progress and the presence of possible error conditions.
In order to provide efficient transfer logic management and simultaneously permit the operator to interact with the various automated devices, iControl provides for the following functions:
- Receiving missions form the WMS and conversion into commando to be transmitted to the respective PLC (stacker cranes, shuttles, AGV, etc.)
- Communication with manual picking devices supported by radio frequency, Pick/Put to Light, Voice to Picking, etc.
- Dialogue via driver on standard OPC with third party components
- Interactive, graphic display of electro-mechanical component status
- Addition of documents required for shipments (printing stations)
- Communication of handling conditions or given error conditions to iWare (list of logic messages and faults)
- List of communication protocols with machines