Browse Prior Art Database

Class Based Manufacturing Device Support

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000113531D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 90K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Davis, RA: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is an improved means for supporting communications between the microprocessor-based controller and the different kinds of devices used in manufacturing and other process control applications. In a typical application, the Personal Computer (PC) controller must monitor, receive data from, and issue instructions to tools, machines, instruments, and other plant floor devices used in the process, each with unique characteristics and requirements.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

Class Based Manufacturing Device Support

      Disclosed is an improved means for supporting communications
between the microprocessor-based controller and the different kinds
of devices used in manufacturing and other process control
applications.  In a typical application, the Personal Computer (PC)
controller must monitor, receive data from, and issue instructions to
tools, machines, instruments, and other plant floor devices used in
the process, each with unique characteristics and requirements.

      In an effort to simplify the application programmer's task of
implementing support for application-specific devices, developers of
manufacturing support software platforms have widely adopted the use
of device-independent communications support.  Using this approach,
the support software for all devices is written to conform to a
single structural model regardless of the kinds of devices used.
However, this approach fails to take into account the differences in
degree of complexity required for adequate support of different types
of devices.  Imposing a single structural model on all kinds of
devices can result in support that is unnecessarily complicated for
simple devices and not flexible enough for complex ones.

      The Class-Based Manufacturing Device Support (CBMDS) disclosed
herein solves this dilemma by replacing single-model device
independent support with a multiple-model scheme, recognizing that:
  o  Different categories differ widely in the degree of complexity
     required for their support
  o  Different devices within a category require a similar level of
     complexity for their support.

      Establishing a set of device classes and providing each class
with a device driver structural model of appropriate complexity,
permits CBMDS to:
  o  Provide full support for any type of device
  o  Retain the essential advantages of device-independent
     communications support;
  o  Greatly simplify the creation, configuration, and maintenance of
     new device drivers.

      The following examples of different device types illustrate the
range of complexity required for support of different classes of
devices:
  o  Digital I/O
  o  Analog I/O
  o  Robotic Arm
  o  Residual Gas Analyzer
  o  Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

      Devices belonging to one class (digital I/O device, for
example) are relatively simple compared those belonging to another
class (a robotic arm, for example).  CBMDS provides each type with an
independent model that provides an appropriate level of support.
Since devices in a single class can exhibit significant differences,
CBMDS also provides for different models within a class.  For
example, digital adapter cards (belonging in the class of digital I/O
devices) may be either memory-mapped or command-register based, and
therefore require support for different control mechanisms.

      For each class and model CBMDS provides...