An automated high bay warehouse is commonly used for storing large number of material with a high throughput. In an automated warehouse pallet movements are mainly performed by a number of automated devices like conveyors systems, trolleys, and stacker cranes. From the introduction of the material to the automated warehouse system to its dispatch the system requires no operator input or intervention since all material movements are done automatically. This allows the automated warehouse to operate continuously with minimal manpower.
The thesis focuses on a conveyor system within an automated warehouse. The conveyor system is responsible for the intake of material into the warehouse, internal use of material in the production, and dispatch of finished products. The material is stored on pallets, which are used to transport the material over different types of conveyors. The main contribution of the thesis is a software written for a programmable logic controller, which allows an arbitrary configuration of a conveyor system. The software is modular and consists of several so-called function blocks, where each function block represents the whole program logic for a single conveyor and uses a standard interface for information exchange with other function blocks. The software currently supports eight different types of conveyors, which can be freely linked with one another to create a conveyor system, of any size and complexity. The software allows for simple extension of existing project, and rapid development of new projects. To add a new type of conveyor only we need to create a new function block, which is following the now established standards for information exchange and supports all functionalities of the new conveyor type.
The software is used on the conveyor system which consists of one hundred forty units. The software has proved to be reliable, since it has been operating without problems for more than one year.