Hybrid Process Model

Hybrid Process Model - Processes from Manufacturing and Process Technology


The Hybrid Process-Model (HPM) is a major laboratory production system for implementing and evaluating the concepts and approaches that are investigated at the chair AIS. Therefore, the HPM consists of multiple plant sections that emulate different specific domains of production engineering, i.e. material flow, discrete manufacturing and continuous (chemical) process technology. The material flow plant and manufacturing sections consists of an array of conveyors and track switches as well as a handling robot for handling and commissioning the transported products. The process technology plant section consists of a (process) workstation and two filling stations. The products that are produced and altered throughout the plant sections are bottles that can be transported and filled with differently treated fluids and plastic pellets. In the first step of the exemplary production process that is resembled using the plant, empty bottles are separated from a stack by the handling robot and handed over to the material flow section. The material flow section transports the bottles to the filling stations of the process plant section, where they are filed with fluids and pellets depending on the particular recipe, and back to the handling robot which packs the bottles back in a different section of the stack. The bottles are traced through the transporting process by several barcode scanners. The filling stations of the process plant section are two identical modules that are locally separated and both capable of filling the bottles with fluid that has been provided by the process workstation and different types of plastic pellets. For the preparation of the fluid, inside the workstation, several tanks and reactors are installed that allow to heat, circulate or compress water in order to resemble a chemical production process, e.g. the production of yoghurt. The automation hardware architecture of the HPM is flexible in the sense that control hardware from several different vendors can be connected to operate the plant. Therefore, the sensor and actuator signals are collected by decentralized bus couplers which can be connected to the controllers by different field busses, e.g. PROFIBUS, PROFINET. The input of new recipes and production orders as well as the operation of the plant is supported by different web- and touch-based process visualizations and the myJoghurt demonstrator. The HPM is equipped with heavy-duty industrial automation hardware and allows for several different operation strategies. Therefore it provides appropriate means to implement and evaluate a multitude of different research approaches, e.g. from the field of distributed automation systems, artificial intelligence and human-machine interaction.