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Automated Storage/Retrieval System Design Using Ladder Diagrams And Icon Based Programs

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



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Page Numbers

4.103.1 - 4.103.9

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Paper Authors

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Juan Andrade

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Ana Cabrales

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Veronica Martinez

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Sheng-Jen Hsieh

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2259

Automated Storage/Retrieval System Design Using Ladder Diagrams and Icon-based Programs Sheng-Jen Hsieh Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Juan Andrade, Ana Cabrales, Veronica Martinez The University of Texas – Pan American, Edinburg, Texas


Ladder diagrams have long been used in programmable logic controllers (PLC) for discrete-event process control. For continuous process applications, such as motor rotation, a dedicated and continuous process controller is also necessary. Icon-based programming languages utilize icons to represent sets of functions. Due to their simplicity and user friendliness, use of icon-based programming languages has gradually become a future trend. In this paper, we describe a student project involving the design of an Automated Storage/Retrieval System (ASRS) which utilizes strengths from both ladder diagrams and icon-based programming.

Educational instrumentation by Fischertechnik, which includes a set of building blocks, was used to build a scale model of an ASRS. An associated icon-based program was used to control motor on-off and rotation operations. A PLC was used to determine when and which motor has to be on and in what kind of rotation, given the status of switches on the ASRS. Thus, output from the ladder diagram was used as input to the icon-based program. The motor then moved the crane to the appropriate storage cell. This action resulted in status changes in one or more limit switches. Status changes in the limit switches then triggered output from the ladder diagram. This action resulted in reversal of the motor and return of the crane to its home position. This process would then continue as new parts arrived to be deposited into the ASRS. Two different models were developed successfully for a student semester project.

Benefits of this approach to integrating manufacturing system design within a class curriculum are many. First, the project challenged students to go beyond what they had already learned. Second, this exercise helped students to integrate knowledge learned from different courses, such as electrical system design and computer-aided manufacturing. Finally, the final product from such a project can be used as a demo for prospective students, parents, and visitors; as a project candidate for future groups of students; and as an instructional tool.

1. Introduction

The primary objective of this paper is to demonstrate that ladder diagrams and icon-based programming can be integrated in automated storage/retrieval system (AS/RS) design. An AS/RS is a good representation of integrated automation technology in automated storage system

Andrade, J., & Cabrales, A., & Martinez, V., & Hsieh, S. (1999, June), Automated Storage/Retrieval System Design Using Ladder Diagrams And Icon Based Programs Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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