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A distributed control system for flexible materials handling

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2 Author(s)
Luntz, J.E. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Messner, W.

In this research, we are developing a materials handling system where many small, simple actuators cooperate to convey large objects with three degrees of freedom in a plane. The actuators, or cells, are arranged in a regular array which is fixed to a planar surface, and objects are passed over the array. Such an array provides very flexible materials handling in which many objects can be conveyed simultaneously in different directions. The array is coordinated in a distributed manner, rather than by a central controller. Each manipulator has its own controller, and each controller communicates with its neighbours. In this article, modeling and control methods, and a real-time communication network and language are developed. Simple tests on hardware and in simulation are presented

Published in:

Control Systems, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 1 )