The initial situation
The Austrian company Servus Intralogistics, based in Dornbirn and specialised in rail-bound transport robots, planned on innovating its ARC2 family.
Servus Intralogistics and A+K were already acquainted with each other from jointly implemented ARC2 projects. So it was only natural for Servus to commission A+K to develop a control system for the new ARC3 robots.
The concept phase
As a first step, the system architects of Servus and A+K prepared two specifications, one containing all the problems that existed in the ARC2 system in terms of plant design, manufacture, assembly, commissioning, operation and maintenance.
The second specification contained all the requirements that the new ARC3 system had to meet in future.
The new overall system, consisting of vehicles, the control system, rails, warehouse construction, electrical engineering and much more was designed on the basis of these two specifications.
Not a single limitation of the existing ARC2 series was to remain. All the requirements and wishes of the customers had to be fulfilled for the new ARC3 system. In addition, the new ARC3 system had to take the far-sighted objectives of Servus into account.
Detailed planning and implementation was distributed among various teams. The detailed planning and software development of the control system was carried out by A+K in Herzogenaurach. The detailed planning and programming of the onboard vehicle software was carried out by an in-house team at Servus. Drive technology, battery technology, radio, positioning systems, transponders and much more was explicitly developed for Servus ARC3 by other specialists.
The in-house test
A+K performed a complete test of the control system in the office on the basis of simulators. However, the actual automation objects could only be tested in interaction with the vehicles and PLCs at a real plant. For this purpose, Servus installed several demonstration plants in Dornbirn, in which all the necessary automation objects such as switches or lifters were available.
The pilot plant
After the production and assembly of the first pilot plant, commissioning was carried out by a joint team on site at the end customer's premises. The experience gained during the commissioning and start-up of the plant flowed directly back into the control system and the automation objects. Since the control system and the automation objects are updatable, the plants can be updated at any time with further developed software.
It was a challenging project, as the lead time for the complete process of planning, implementation and in-house testing was only 12 months.
Thanks to A+K's experience with the ARC2 system, the excellent, precise work from the project management, and the management of the individual teams, it was still possible to meet the schedule, albeit with great effort.
Servus Intralogistics was able to set up an in-house development team at a later date to develop the control system. This team is now independently continuing the development of the control system developed by A+K.
Today, Servus Intralogistics has an ultra-modern, if not the most modern overall system of rail-bound transport robots on the market.
Scope of services of A+K
- Development of the system architecture
- Development of the rough and detailed concept
- Development of an autorouter system for the vehicles
- Determination of the most cost-effective routes
- Development of the supply of environmental information to vehicles
- Programming of the control system in C#, MS SQL, Web, S7
- In-house testing with simulators
- Integration tests at the demonstration plant in Dornbirn
- Joint start-up of the pilot plant
- Joint start-up of selected follow-up plants
- Handover of the development work to the Servus team