Tuesday , August 14 2018

Web System for the Remote Control and Execution of an
IEC 61499 Application

Oana ROHAT, Dan POPESCU
Faculty of Automation and Computer Science, Politehnica University
Splaiul Independenţei 313, Bucureşti, 060042, Romania
oana.rohat@gmail.com; dan_popescu_2002@yahoo.com

Abstract: Remote control and execution gives the possibility of designing applications where any controller can have access to high computational power and knowledge just by use of standard network interfaces. This work describes the structure and components of a system that allows a user to select an algorithm from a web library, configure the execution parameters and remotely control a plant application that is implemented based on the IEC 61499 standard. The system is based on open technologies like php, Java and IEC 61499 function blocks allowing the easy integration and interoperability of its components. The system was successfully tested and represents a novel approach in developing flexible, efficient and reliable applications.

Keywords: Web application; remote execution; distributed systems; function block programming; software integration.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Oana ROHAT, Dan POPESCU, Web System for the Remote Control and Execution of an IEC 61499 Application, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 23 (3), pp. 297-306, 2014.

1. Introduction

The design of flexible, efficient, reliable control systems is one of the main concerns in modern industrial applications. The solution is developing modular, Internet-enabled, reusable control logic systems, capable of working in distributed networks, and able to incorporate modern technologies like smartphones in the process control actions. A great attention was given over the last decades to improving the process control design and programming methods that provide patters or generic software objects and can be used in different applications with minimum reconfiguration and integration effort [1-2]. The use of such objects provide great help for process control engineers in designing higher quality and more efficient automation systems in a shorter period of time.

An important support in this direction came from the IEC 61499 standard [3]. It allows developing platform-independent, reusable and even self-configurable function blocks that give the possibility of exchanging information between interconnected controllers in a distributed network. Innovative applications were developed in domains like Smart GRIDs, Material Handling Units, Building Management Systems and Smart Factories to exploit the standard’s benefits and prove its reliability [4].

Not much attention was paid until now to the web integration of an IEC 61499 application. The standard provides some standard communication objects [5] that can be further developed to implement industrial communication protocols like Modbus, Profibus, CAN, OPC etc.

Using the free FBDK tool for IEC 61499 application development and execution, this paper aims to further exploit the standard’s benefits and develop a web-based system for the remote configuration and execution of a function block, with the results being sent to a specific device. This provides great flexibility and efficiency to the engineering process, as the distributed controller has access to greater computational power than its own resources. That way the system provides great accessibility and reliability in using a wide range of complex algorithms without the need of a controller upload and just by using an Ethernet communication link.

Applications that are independent of the process time (like model learning, detecting optimal parameters, algorithm testing, plant risk analysis, image processing etc.) or the ones that don’t have hard real-time constraints (like slow process control plants from the agriculture or biology domains, building management systems etc.) are the ones that can benefit most from the implementation based on such a remote execution system.

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https://doi.org/10.24846/v23i3y201408