The Automation Production System enables students to acquire knowledge in the areas of automation, production systems using PLC programming, sensors, actuators and mechatronics. The APS comprises of modules with varying functions that are electrically and mechanically linked, and when combined simulate an actual industrial process such as material dispensing, sorting of products, processing and storing.
The APS is constructed on an aluminium frame and can be mounted on a bench or supplied with a support stand. The APS has an operating console with on/off switches, emergency stop switch and PLC control with the I/O connections, electrical and pneumatic.
The functionally of the APS is to allow students to study the automation process and to understand how to control various modules to ensure they work together. The APS uses a bottling plant as the process with containers being placed/dispensed onto the conveyor belt. The presence/absences of a container is detected using sensors and if present the containers are moved to the linear conveyor system. The linear conveyor moves each container to the two axis pick and place module where the pneumatic gripper of the transfer unit picks up the container and places it on to the indexing rotary table. The motorised rotary module will index the container through to the volumetric filling modules where the container is filled. The container is then capped at the capping module and the containers are transferred from the rotary module to the weighing module. Once weighing is complete the XY palletising module will store the finished item in the pallet section.
The process allows the control of production using a series of modules that are independently controlled and require the modules to be synchronised for the operation to be performed successfully and is representative of a full size production system.