R.P.U. - Overview

EXSIS is designing and developing PLC code generating software called RPU (Remote Programmable Unit). The objective was to have the capability to generate all of the PLC code needed within the automotive industry. This includes key functions, such as all mechanical devices and PLC releases, robotic devices (including welding and robotics anti-collision zones), type shifting and the HMI interface, including auto and manual interlocks. These functions would also have the ability of being manually configured for improved cycle time, which is of major importance within the automation industry.

The objective of automation is to have a task repeated accurately and efficiently. This philosophy has been adopted by EXSIS in the development of the RPU software The concept is to use approved standard code for all mechanical and PLC communications, allowing for code to be automatically generated. The automation of repeatable products therefore should limit the amount of human involvement to maximise speed, eliminate errors and maximize efficiency. 

Our assessment of using the RPU software indicates that a project that may normally take three and a half months after design using CAD & EPLAN with a large number of PLC programmers would be accomplished within hours. 

The RPU software would also have a rippling effect. Large savings would be made as PLC code would be generated within the automation industry using this software, and not externally. As new PLC equipment is introduced the industry, standard code would be inserted into the software providing global code. Adopting the RPU software would impact on the number of vehicles/products that could be launched within a given time frame by the manufacturer using this application worldwide, giving them an advantage over their competitors. 

The RPU software will also provide solutions for new production lines and the integration of existing lines. This would lead to a greater percentage of the market if adopted.

During the development of the RPU software the functionality of existing applications was considered and understanding their functions has enabled EXSIS to consider interface modules that allows data to be transferred seamlessly between applications.

ActiveX or DLL modules would facilitate the flow of data between the RPU software and CAD and EPLAN, which are widely used within the automotive industry. CAD is used in formulating the layouts of production equipment and showing their functionality. EPLAN is to show the electrical and mechanical schematics in conjunction with the equipment used in the CAD study for a project.