An Intelligent and Dynamic Plating Line Control System
Trutime is a dynamic solution designed to replace standard fixed timeways on complex plating lines.
At Trutegra, plating lines take up about half of our crane related work. With experience from Detroit to Thailand, we understand the many unique and important requirements of these systems including scheduling software, precise positioning, and drive selection and tuning. Since the beginning of the company, Plating and Pickling lines have been among our core competencies. As a way to increase efficiency, our engineers created Trutime, a dynamic scheduling software for controlling cranes in a plating line environment.
How it works
Trutime works by adding a bidding system to active loads on the line. A load enters a tank for a predetermined time and starts counting. When it nears the time it is supposed to be removed from that specific tank, it starts bidding to be picked up by a crane. The cranes wait in what we call the “Cell Phone Lot” for a load to bid and be granted permission to be picked up by a crane. It is then carried by the crane to its correct tank and lowered into a saddle where the crane waits for the load to be ready. After picking up the load and waiting for its drip time to complete the crane then carries it to its next destination for drop-off and completion. Each load in this process stores a unique recipe or instructions log, and a full history of its actions including which tank it was in, the amount of time it spent in that process, and much more.
These extensive data reports can notify operators of any problems during the process with colored icons by comparing the actual time a load spent in a tank to that load’s specific minimum, maximum, and nominal time allowed. If a load goes over its maximum time allowed in a tank, a red arrow appears on that load’s history. Also stored in these reports are the recipe numbers, arrival times, and active steps of the load. Our load report system is capable of functioning in any mode, including a fixed timeway, a dynamic timeway such as Trutime, or in manual mode. As a load completes its recipe, its recorded history is written to a server where it can be accessed at any time. We graph information gathered about each crane’s current state, as well as any slip we observe.
If our system ever detects the cranes are slipping, our system is capable of recovering that lost time. The system analyzes each crane’s activity and if a slip is detected it checks for an opportunity to recover that slip. There are 2 scenarios in which time can be recovered. A percentage of the drip time can be taken or the load could be taken out early based on its minimum allowed time. If all active cranes allow either of these options, then the system will take the lowest of those times, and adjust all cranes to restore any lost time.
To learn more, watch this more in-depth video here