EP1652011A1 - Signal processing method and signal processing system - Google Patents

Signal processing method and signal processing system

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Publication number
EP1652011A1
EP1652011A1 EP20030735735 EP03735735A EP1652011A1 EP 1652011 A1 EP1652011 A1 EP 1652011A1 EP 20030735735 EP20030735735 EP 20030735735 EP 03735735 A EP03735735 A EP 03735735A EP 1652011 A1 EP1652011 A1 EP 1652011A1
Authority
EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
signal
control
adapter
bus
signal processing
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP20030735735
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Ari Kosonen
Heikki VÄÄTÄINEN
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Avecontrol Oy
Original Assignee
AVECONTROL OY
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B19/00Programme-control systems
    • G05B19/02Programme-control systems electric
    • G05B19/04Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers
    • G05B19/042Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers using digital processors
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/21Pc I-O input output
    • G05B2219/21061Adapter bus connected to centronics
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/21Pc I-O input output
    • G05B2219/21096Connection of machine to pc via centronics, parallel port
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/25Pc structure of the system
    • G05B2219/25195Multiwire cable, parallel

Abstract

A signal processing method and system, in which the sequential control signal transmitted by the control system (2) is received by the control unit (1), which converts the control signal into a parallel on/off data signal, transmits the on/off data signal to the auxiliary device (3) and receives the feedback siganl of the controlled device, converting the feedback signal into a sequential signal to be transmitted to the control system. According to the invention, to process signals from the control system (2) and to transmit them to the controlled device (3) or vice versa, the bus adapter (14a, 18) converts the received sequential control signal into a parallel on/off data signal, transmits the on/off data signal to the controlled device, converts the received feedback signal of the controlled device into a sequential feedback signal, and transmits the sequential feedback signal to the control system.

Description

Signal processing method and signal processing system

The subject of the invention is a signal processing method in which a sequential control signal transmitted by a control system, advantageously by a computer, is received over a first interface adapter by a control unit, in which the control signal is converted into a parallel on/off data signal, which is transmitted over a second interface adapter to an auxiliary device or to a controlled device. The control unit also receives the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device over the second interface adapter, and the received feedback signal is converted into a sequential signal to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.

The subject of the present invention is also a signal processing system in which a sequential control signal transmitted by a control system, advantageously by a computer, is received over a first interface adapter by a control unit that converts the control signal into a parallel on/off data signal, and transmits the on/off data signal over a second interface adapter to an auxiliary device or to a controlled device. The control unit receives the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device over the second interface adapter and converts the received feedback signal into a sequential signal to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.

In accordance with the known technology, usually either relay or microprocessor control is used in the control of electronic devices. Typically the control systems of relay-controlled electronic devices are the most advantageous solution when only a few devices are being controlled. Microprocessor-based control systems, such as PLC systems (Programmable Logic Controller, including a microprocessor), are the most advantageous solution when several electronic devices are being controlled, or when the control is too complicated to be handled by relay control. Such PLC systems use microprocessors both in the processing unit of the system and in each PLC controller.

There is an area between the aforementioned known control techniques in which the use of either aforementioned control technique is not the most advantageous solution, if the work involving the design, the introduction, the maintenance and the modifications during the lifespan of the control are taken into consideration. It is this intermediate area that the present invention of a new microprocessorless signal processing method and signal processing system for the control of elec- tronic devices is proposed for, the system being at its most advantageous in the control of 4 - 10 electronic devices of different types, being more advantageous than relay or microprocessor-based control systems.

The present known control systems containing a PLC are so-called closed control systems, for they require a separate and unique, often manufacturer-dependent adapter unit for their control operation, which is installed between the PLC controller and the controlled device, if the device is controlled through a bus. This adapter unit is responsible for the electronic and logical connection of the controlled device, and physically it is usually a separate electromechanical device, which has to be fitted to the controlled device in order to control it. The bus interface, which can control only a few or a large number of different devices, is typically coupled with the PLC controller by means of an adapter unit. The bus interface can be an integrated part of the PLC controller, or it can be a separate electromechanical device. In the PLC system, it is possible to make changes and to adjust control settings by programming means on the computer of the control system through the bus. To enable the control, it is necessary to implement the PLC system with the operation system and the control software, and to feed the preliminary settings and the operational parameters into the memory.

Examples of common control buses complying with the industrial standards to be used separately and individually are INTERBUS, AS-I, PROFIBUS, CAN-bus, Lon- Works. These control buses are commonly used as buses to control electronic devices. The function of the bus is to transmit the control and supervisory information from the control device to the controlled device and vice versa, at the speed and in the form specified by the bus-related protocol. Basically, each manu- facturer supports his own and at the most only a few other bus-related control standards, and typically there is a bus solution between the control unit and the controlled unit that is supported by the manufacturer, meaning that the manufacturer maintains the bus standard that he has chosen.

The aforementioned manufacturer-dependent, i.e. closed control systems have several disadvantages and weaknesses that can be mentioned.

In the first place and in general, the attributes of the automation system, including the bus structure, are defined already at the planning phase, to comply with the bus standard that the customer wants. This means that the configuration of the devices is not and could not have been standardized to comply with several bus standards; it is among others dependent on the used control bus instead. For this reason, the manufacturer of the controlled device cannot make any preparations in advance, or manufacture devices as standardized products to have in store. For the aforementioned reasons, the adapter units of different bus structures cannot be manufactured in a similar electronic and mechanical form either. From the manufacturer's point of view, this is a negative thing, because it makes it necessary to make all the plans, wiring diagrams and components of the devices for each bus separately, but nevertheless to comply with the different order-related "variables" that have been mentioned above.

In the second place, it is complicated and expensive to make changes and/or to add features to the bus structures of traditional automation systems, or to exchange a bus standard for another bus standard, because this often entails the re- placement of the adapter unit to comply with the bus and possibly makes changes to the control programs. This also means the inner recoupling and rewiring of the controlled device, and possibly also entails changes to the mechanical structure, if the adapter unit required by the new bus is mechanically incompatible with the former adapter unit. It is difficult to make the electric coupling within the controlled device as well. Nowadays the conversion of the control data, i.e. the control signal, which flows between the bus structures is carried out on the level of the processing unit under the control system's control and controlled by a PC or a PLC, as described in patent publications US 5923557 and US 6151640, and by placing a conformable, bus-compliant control card right inside the processing unit of the controlling control system.

As a third problem of the closed control systems, the creation of additional features has been considered to be difficult. If a controlled electric device needs additional features or modifications afterwards, it usually means changing the whole control system, as far as the mechanical devices, the control system and the con- trol programs are regarded. In addition to this, all the modifications have to be made in accordance with the protocol of the existing control bus, and a change to another bus type or control system is possible only if all the adapter units connected with the controlled devices etc. are replaced completely.

A fourth weakness lies in the fact that electric devices that are equipped with microprocessors emit high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to their environment, which may be a health hazard in high quantities, or which may lead to malfunctions or to damages in a sensitive electromagnetic field. This is why an effort is made to insulate sensitive control systems, such as those of aircraft or military control systems, as well as possible, so as not to absorb and to emit electromagnetic radiation.

In the fifth place, relay controls are slow to manufacture, because they are always individually hand-made. It is difficult to make changes to relay controls, for they require changes in the existing wiring and cabling. Relay controls are advantageous only if they are used to control separate electric devices. One of the general goals of the present invention is to remove or at least to significantly lessen the disadvantages and weaknesses that have been discussed above. The second general goal of the invention is to create a new and inventive signal processing method as discussed in the beginning, where the control signal transmitted by the control system is transmitted to the controlled device as control data in an on/off form intelligible to the controlled device. The third general goal of the invention is to create a new and inventive signal processing system as discussed in the beginning, which transmits the control signal transmitted by the con- trol system to the controlled electronic device as control data in an on/off form intelligible to the controlled device.

One of the specific goals of the present invention is to create a special electronic control unit for the new and inventive signal processing method and system, which would make it possible to control an electronic device openly, i.e. independently of the manufacturer, through different types of buses which comply with industrial standards, and with a direct bus structure. According to one aspect of the invention, advantageous areas of application for the signal processing method and the signal processing system would be the process industry, ships, large constructions and applications in heating and ventilation, as well as (e.g.) vacuum systems and sewage plants.

The signal processing method and the signal processing system outlined in the beginning have fulfilled these goals, and their specific features have been defined in the attached requirement schedule.

In general, it is characteristic of the signal processing method described by the invention that in order to process and to transmit signals from the control device to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device and vice versa, the sequential control signal received by the bus adapter of the control unit over the first interface adapter is converted into a parallel on/off data signal in the bus adapter, which is transmitted over the second interface adapter to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device, and the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device received by the bus adapter of the control unit over the second interface adapter is converted into a sequential signal in the bus adapter, to be trans- mitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.

According to a typical operating feature of the invention, the control signal is converted in the control unit after the first interface adapter either into a parallel on/off data signal which is immediately conformable to the auxiliary device or the controlled device, or first in the communication adapter into a bus signal and then in the bus adapter into an on/off data signal conformable to the auxiliary device or the controlled device. According to the invention, it is especially advantageous that the on/off data signal is transmitted over the second interface adapter and the communication channel to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device, and that the feedback signal, which contains the status information of the device or the auxiliary device now advantageously controllable in accordance with the invention, is transmitted over the communication channel and the second interface adapter back to the control unit, the feedback signal being led into the bus adapter of the control unit.

According to the invention, it is essential that the control and/or the feedback signal is transmitted over the control unit without any processing of information, meaning that essentially the only conversions to take place in the control unit are the conversion of the sequential control signal into a parallel on/off signal and the conversion of the parallel feedback signal into a sequential form by bus signal conversion.

In general, it is characteristic of the signal processing method in accordance with the invention that in order to process and to transmit signals from the control de- vice to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device and vice versa, the bus adapter converts the sequential control signal received over the first interface adapter into a parallel on/off data signal, and transmits it over the second interface adapter to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device, and the bus adapter converts the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device received over the second interface adapter into a sequential signal, to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.

In accordance with an advantageous operation mode of the invention, there is a communication adapter in the control unit between the first interface adapter and the bus adapter, which transmits the control signal to the bus adapter. According to the invention, it is then advantageous to have a forced control apparatus for the control signal between the communication and the bus adapters. The forced control apparatus can be (among other options) a transistor, a diode, a gate circuit or some other signal processing circuit, which can be an independent electronic component, or which can be integrated, e.g. by circuit board technology, with the communication adapter, with the bus adapter e.g. the bus adapter card, or with the motherboard of the control unit. According to the invention, it is also advantageous that there is a second forced control apparatus of the control signal between the bus adapter and the second interface adapter, to force the parallel on/off data signal into the second interface adapter. Also, the second forced control apparatus can be (among other options) a transistor, a diode, a gate circuit or some other signal processing circuit, which can be an independent electronic component, or which can be integrated, e.g. by circuit board technology, with the communication adapter, with the bus adapter e.g. the bus adapter card, or with the motherboard of the control unit.

According to the invention, the control unit has been set to receive and to process the feedback signals of the auxiliary or the controlled device, and to transmit the feedback signals on to the control system.

For the feedback signal, in accordance with the invention, there is a feedback signal bus adapter within the control unit, to receive and to process the feedback sig- nal containing the status information of the controlled device or the auxiliary device. It is advantageous that the first forced control apparatuses are on the upstream side of the control signal bus adapter, that the second forced control apparatuses of the control signal are on the downstream side of the bus adapter, that the first forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal are on the upstream side of the feedback signal bus adapter, and that the second forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal are on the downstream side of the bus adapter. Both as the first and as the second forced control apparatus of the feedback signal, it is advantageous to use a transistor, a diode, a gate circuit or some other signal processing circuit, which can be an independent electronic component, or which can be integrated, e.g. by circuit board technology, with the communication adapter, with the bus adapter e.g. the bus adapter card, or with the motherboard of the control unit.

A special characteristic feature of the communication system outlined by the in- vention is that there is a two-way communication between the control unit and the controlled unit or the auxiliary device, and that the control unit of the control system contains a microprocessorless motherboard and microprocessorless bus adapters, so that the motherboard and the bus adapters convert the control signals essentially without information processing by bus conversion from sequential into parallel form, and the feedback signals essentially without information processing by bus conversion from parallel into sequential form. According to an application of the invention, the motherboard of the control unit has been equipped with card slots, which accept detachable bus adapters, advantageously bus adapter cards, for the control and the feedback signals.

According to an application of the invention, the interface adapters, the communication adapters and at least the control and feedback signal bus adapters are each separate, and advantageously consist of a PCMCIA card. It is recommended that the communication adapter, which advantageously consists of a PCMCIA card, is set in the direction of the signals, located before the first forced control apparatus preceding the control signal bus adapter and after the second forced control apparatus of the feedback signal following the feedback signal bus adapter.

According to the invention, it is possible to integrate the communication adapter with the bus adapter in order to make the number of separate elements smaller, meaning that no separate forced control apparatus will be needed for the control signal. In accordance with the invention, it is also possible to create a signal processing system with fewer elements, so that the forced control apparatus of the control signal is integrated with the control signal bus adapter, or so that the forced control apparatus of the feedback signal is integrated with the feedback signal bus adapter. It is also possible to integrate the communication adapter with the control and/or the feedback signal bus adapter, resulting in an integrated signal processing adapter within the control unit, which forms a direct bus between the control system and the controlled device or the auxiliary device, meaning that the whole bus adaptation of the control and the feedback signals is fully integrated within a joint bus adapter.

In general, it can be stated that in the case of the signal processing system outlined by the invention, the transmission of the control and/or the feedback signal be- tween the control system and the control unit takes place through a wired or a wireless communication link.

The control unit of the signal processing system complying with the invention thus also receives and processes the feedback signal of the auxiliary or the con- trolled device, and transmits the feedback signal on to the control system. For this purpose, at least one feedback signal bus adapter is installed within the control unit at a time, to receive the status information of the controlled device or the auxiliary device. In the signal processing system complying with the invention, there is a two-way communication between the control unit and the controlled unit or auxiliary device, and the motherboard and the bus adapters of the control system are microprocessorless, so that the control signal is converted essentially without information processing by bus conversion from sequential into parallel form, and the feedback signal essentially without information processing by bus conversion from parallel into sequential form.

The advantage of the signal processing method and system as outlined by the invention is that electronic devices can be controlled openly, i.e. independently of the manufacturer, and transparently through different types of buses complying with industrial standards. In a signal processing system complying with the invention, it is also possible to use bus adapters which can be attached to the electric control unit directly and which can be freely chosen; the bus adapters are advantageously detachable circuit cards or similar, fitted to the card slots of the control unit's motherboard. The mechanical and electric structure of such a bus adapter is designed so that by replacing the bus card in the electric control unit, it is possible to transmit the control data required by each controlled unit. Bus adapters thus enable the communication mode and the control level of the control unit, i.e. decentralized intelligence, free choice and the transfer of bus control directly to the controlled device or system.

The role of the control system, i.e. the computer, is to perform control over the said control unit (=straight control line); however, unlike on the PLC, it is not possible to adjust the control settings by means of the signal processing system and method outlined by the invention, as according to the invention, the control signal always leaves the control system as a pre-processed sequential message, and the control signal is converted into parallel control data intelligible to the con- trolled device in the control unit.

The opemiess of the signal processing system outlined by the invention removes all the device problems which are inherent of different known closed systems, as the electric control unit itself, which is part of the system, can mechanically be manufactured in a standard form, and only the different adapters, e.g. the bus adapters change, depending on the bus, the chosen form of communication and the control level, i.e. the choice of decentralized intelligence, and on the measuring and computing actions of the devices needed for possible supervisory measures. The changes to the bus structure of the signal processing system and method outlined by the invention do not cause significant or difficult changes to the physical wiring of the control unit and the bus during the lifespan of the system.

In comparison with the PLC and relay techniques, a significant difference also lies in the ease of making changes. The control unit in accordance with the invention is not programmable over the bus; the logical wiring pre-programmed into the memoryless control unit by the factory can only be changed by inserting the card into a special programming station, or by programming the control unit by means of a programming unit placed next to it.

The signal processing method or system conforming to the invention can simulta- neously control several electric devices of different types, such as motors, magnetic valves and signal lamps. From the invention's point of view, the number of the controlled devices or the type of the controlled device is of no significance; by the proper use of different bus adapters, it is possible to change the features that are transmitted over the bus to and from the controlled devices. The number of the controlled devices is nevertheless limited by the number of controlled devices allowed by the chosen bus type, which depends on the number of the bus addresses of the given bus. Although this invention makes it possible to control a large number of devices by means of the same control unit, it is not practical, for in the event of the control system's malfunction, the whole control system may become paralyzed, resulting in decreased reliability. Finally, the number of the controlled devices is limited by the technical construction of the chosen bus. This differs significantly from control in accordance with the level of technology, where one control typically controls one motor or some other electric device.

Of the main functional and structural differences between the invention, which is originally based on the pre-programmed and microprocessorless logic circuit, and the traditional PLC system, which is among others presented in patent US 5206572 and is based on the programmable and by programming maintainable logic circuit, it can be mentioned that by means of the invention, all the desired functionality can be realized as the internal action of one logic circuit, whereas in the PLC system, the realization of the same desired functionality requires at least an operating system, control programs, different kinds of memories, such as RAM and ROM memories, and a clock signal for the microprocessor of the PLC system.

In the following, different kinds of bus adapters, i.e. circuit cards, will be described which can be connected to the control unit. From the invention's point of view, the input and output bus adapters are of significance. By means of the communication adapter, the control signal received from the control system is converted into the bus signal of the control unit. The communication between the control system and the first interface adapter of the control unit can be either wired or wireless, but the bus or connection solution of the wired or wireless data transfer is of no significance from the invention's point of view. In the control signal bus adapter, the control signal is converted into a data signal conformable to the auxiliary device or the controlled device. The bus cards to be connected to the control unit are manufactured mechanically in a standard form and as electrically compatible with the system, and they are certified by a proper certifying company to meet all standards.

In this invention, then, the electric structure of the applied bus is not significant. Significant is the transparency of the applied bus and the control unit to the control system, which is either a usual automatic system control including a centralized control unit, e.g. a PLC or a PC, or alternatively a manual control without a centralized control unit. The device to be used for centralized control and the device's efficiency can be chosen. The control bus can be coupled directly with the device without any i/o units, e.g. relays, transistors etc. A significant feature of the invention is its specialized mechanical solution, in which the electric control unit of the open signal processing method and system is a motherboard designed with circuit board technology or a similar circuit card solution equipped with couplers, together with an optional number of circuit cards fitted to and integrated with it, i.e. daughter cards, which result in a transparency towards the control system.

The equipment to process and to transmit the control data, i.e. the electric bus signal, to the output connection, i.e. the first interface adapter of the control unit, includes (fitted on the motherboard of the control unit):

- one or more communication adapters, which can be signal processing circuits integrated with the motherboard of the control unit or detachable PCMCIA daughter cards connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to convert the sequential control signal into the internal bus signal of the control unit; - the first forced control apparatus of the control signal, which transmits the bus signal to the bus adapter; a bus adapter, which can be a signal processing circuit integrated with the motherboard or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to convert the bus signal of the control unit's motherboard into a parallel on/off data signal conformable to the auxiliary or the controlled device; a second forced control apparatus of the control signal, which can be a signal processing circuit integrated with the motherboard of the control unit or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to transmit the on/off data signal to the output of the control unit, i.e. to the second interface adapter.

The structural, the electric and the mechanical design of the interface, the communication and the bus adapters is advantageous when it includes a PCMCIA card. However, such a structure is not necessary from the invention's operational or structural vantage point, and application is possible by some other suitable method as well. Nevertheless, the PCMCIA technique is an advantageous way to apply the invention.

The devices which are used to transmit the control data from the control unit in- elude an output, i.e. the second interface adapter, which is connected with at least the auxiliary device or the 1 - N controlled electric device, and the bus between the control unit and the controlled device or the auxiliary device. The second interface adapter and the bus can function in both ways, so that the control unit can receive and transmit a feedback signal from the controlled device back towards the control system.

The equipment to process and to transmit a feedback signal of the control system back towards the control system includes: the first forced control apparatus of the feedback signal, which can be a signal processing circuit integrated with the motherboard or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to force the feedback signal transmitted over the second interface adapter into the bus adapter;

- the feedback signal bus adapter, which can be a signal processing circuit inte- grated with the motherboard or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to convert and to transmit the feedback signal upstream of the control unit;

- the forced control apparatus of the feedback signal, which can be a signal processing circuit integrated with the motherboard or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to force the feedback signal transmitted over the bus adapter into the communication adapter, which converts the feedback signal into a sequential signal intelligible to the control system; and

- the first interface adapter of the control unit, which can be a signal processing circuit integrated with the motherboard or a detachable PCMCIA daughter card connected to the motherboard of the control unit, to transmit a sequential feedback signal of the status of the controlled devices to the control system.

To perform the control, the starting up and the supervision of electronic devices, the following phases can be carried out in accordance with the invention:

- in order to define the control level and/or the features of the control technique, a bus type is chosen, e.g. a bus that complies with an industrial standard;

- a communication method is chosen, e.g. communication in a wireless or a wired form, or over a bus complying with an Internet protocol; - a suitable combination of optional electric bus adapters is chosen, to be used in the electric control unit and for defining the replaceable, the additional or the removable features of the control activities. For example, a wireless bus adapter (e.g. BLUETOOTH) is chosen as a communication adapter, which makes it possible to adapt a high-frequency signal for the control device over the bus. An electrically and mechanically formed bus adapter complying with the INTERBUS bus is for example chosen as the bus adapter for the control signal, and then the other special features desired for the system are added and modified by choosing an appropriate number (1 - n) and combination of communication or bus adapters to be fitted directly in the motherboard without any wiring or other separate joining equipment;

- direct control is used by coupling the bus directly with the electric device without any i/o units, such as relays, transistors etc.

Another advantage of the signal processing method and system conforming to the invention that can be mentioned is the reliable tolerance of varying conditions, among others the tolerance of vibration, which is highly regarded especially in military technology. In nuclear technology, such good toleration of vibration and calculable reliability is also held in high esteem. The invention offers a substitute signal processing type for contactor and relay controls which are disturbed by shock and vibration, and with appropriate design, makes it possible to avoid mis- connections resulting from momentary openings of the contactors. By means of the invention, it is possible to implement safe control systems in seismic areas. Resulting from the small number of moving components and the structure of the electronic circuits, the signal processing system as a whole can be expected to have a smaller MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) than has earlier been possi- ble by using relay or microprocessor controls. An additional advantage of the invention is the EM (Electro Magnetic) free operation of the signal processing system, meaning that the electric devices originating from the control system do not interfere with each other or with other electric devices outside the system.

A significant advantage over the known technology is also the compact size and the lightness of the interface, communication and/or bus adapters, which have been manufactured with a new technology. The structure of the bus adapters can be realized modularly, and they can be attached directly to the motherboard of the control unit without any separate wiring, meaning that the necessary changes to the couplings can be done internally within the control unit.

In the following, the invention will be described by referring to the corresponding figures, which illustrate the system outlined by the invention in the form of diagrams. However, the invention is not solely limited to the application presented in the figures.

Figure 1 presents the signal processing system of the invention in general.

Figure 2 presents the control unit of the invention's system in more detail.

Figure 1 schematically depicts the signal processing system of the invention, the parts of which are the controlling system (2), which is advantageously a computer or similar and which can be placed e.g. in the central control room of the controlled plant or process or e.g. on the bridge of a ship etc., the control unit (1), which is coimected with the control system (2) over the communication link (6) and at least over one communication channel (7) with the controlled electric auxil- iary device(s) (4) or device(s) (3), which will henceforth be referred to with the expressions device (3) or auxiliary device (4).

Reference to Figure 1. In the signal processing system of the invention, the se- quential control signal transmitted by the control system (2) is received over the first interface adapter (11) by the control unit (1), which converts the control signal into a parallel on/off data signal in the bus adapter (14a, 18), and which transmits this on/off data signal over the second interface adapter (16) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3) through the communication connection (7). Additionally, the control unit (1) receives the feedback signal of the auxiliary device (4) or the controlled device (3) over the second interface adapter (16), and converts this feedback signal in the bus adapter (14a, 18) into a sequential feedback signal to be transmitted over the first interface adapter (11) to the control system (2).

According to the general principle of the invention's signal processing method, and in order to process the signals in the control unit (1), transmitted from the control system (2) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3) or vice versa, the sequential control signal received by the control unit's bus adapter (14a, 18) over the first interface adapter (11) is converted into a parallel on/off data signal, after which the parallel on/off data signal is transmitted over the second interface adapter (16) to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device. The same principle is used to convert the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device, received by the bus adapter (14a, 18) over the second interface adapter (16), into a sequential feedback signal, after which the sequential feedback signal is transmitted to the control system (2) over the first interface adapter (11).

As can be established from Figure 2, the control unit (1) may have several bus adapters (14a, 14b, 18). There can be several bus adapters both for the control signals and for the feedback signals, depending on the number of the controlled devices (3), the auxiliary devices (4) and/or the types of buses used in the signal processing system, so that a supporting bus adapter can be used for each type. It is also advantageous that at least in the direction of the control signal, the control unit is provided with a communication adapter (12) after the first interface adapter (11), which converts the sequential control signal coming from the control system into a bus signal conformable to the control unit (1). After this, the bus signal is transmitted to the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), in which the bus signal is converted into a parallel on/off data signal conformable to the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4), both of which can number 1 - N, and then transmitted through the second interface adapter (16) of the control unit (1) to the con- trolled device (3) over the communication channels (7), either directly or through the auxiliary device (4), in order to start or to stop the controlled device (3).

Reference to Figure 2 continued. According to the special application of the invention, a first forced control apparatus (13) has been installed in the bus adapter between the communication adapter (12) and the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), to force the control signal of the control system (2) into the bus adapter. The first forced control apparatus can among others be a transistor, a diode, a gate circuit or some other signal processing circuit, which can be an independent electronic component, or which can be integrated, e.g. by circuit board technology, with the communication adapter, with the bus adapter such as the bus adapter card, or with the motherboard of the control unit. It is also recommended that a second forced control apparatus (15) is set between the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b) and the second interface adapter (16), to force the parallel on/off data signal into the second interface adapter (16). The second forced control apparatus can among others also be a transistor, a diode, a gate circuit or some other signal processing circuit, which can be an independent electronic component, or which can be integrated, e.g. by circuit board technology, with the communication adapter, with the bus adapter e.g. the bus adapter card, or with the motherboard of the control unit (20). Regarding the location of the forced control apparatuses of the control and feedback signals, e.g. the first forced control apparatus of the control signals (13), the second forced control apparatus of the control signal (15), the first forced control apparatus of the feedback signal (17) and the second forced control apparatus of the feedback signal (19), all used in the control unit (1), it can be generally stated that in accordance with the invention,

- the first forced control apparatuses of the control signal (13) are located on the upstream side of the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b),

- the second forced control apparatuses of the control signal (15) are located on the downstream side of the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b),

- the first forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal (17) are located on the upstream side of the feedback signal bus adapter (18), and

- the second forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal (19) are located on the downstream side of the feedback signal bus adapter (18).

According to the invention, the link, i.e. the communication link (6), to transmit the control and the feedback signals between the control system (2) and the control unit (1) takes place as either wired or wireless communication. This link can be freely chosen; among others, the following can be selected: Bluetooth; LPW4 and its later IPW versions; wired or wireless communication conforming to an Internet protocol; INTERBUS; PROFIBUS; DeviceNet; AS-I; Fieldbus Foundation; IEC/ISA SP50 Fieldbus; Seriplex; WorldFP; LonWorks; SDS; W-LAN; RadioLAN; Modbus; CANopen; Ethernet; ControlNet.

Reference to Figure 1. Reference number (5) illustrates an electric wire connected with the auxiliary device (4), which makes it possible to use the on/off data signal to turn a circuit to the controlled device (3) and between the electric wire (5) optionally on or off, i.e. to feed the starting or operating current, or to cut off the feed of the starting or operating current to the controlled device (3). According to the invention, there is a two-way flow of information within the signal processing system. Based on the specified features of the control unit (1), information relating to the status of the controlled devices (3) can thus advantageously be transmitted back to the control system (2) by means of the feedback signal. In this case, the feedback signal can include information about the status of the controlled device (3), of its being on or off, or information about a fault or a malfunction of the controlled device (3). Figure 1 illustrates the transmission of the control signals from the control unit (1) to the controlled unit (3) or to the auxiliary system (4), and the transmission of the feedback signals from the control unit (1) to the control system (2) by means of the communication link (6) and the communication channel (7).

Figure 2 presents the control unit (1) of the invention's signal processing system more in detail, especially the motherboard (20) fitted within the housing (10) of the control unit (1), the card slots (21, 22, 23) of which, according to the invention, accept an optional number of detachable first interface adapters (11, 12), control signal bus adapters (14a, 14b), second interface adapters (16) and feedback signal bus adapters (18). Such adapters can advantageously be applied by attaching detachable daughter cards to the card slots (21, 22, 23) of the mother- board (20), realized by the use of PCMCIA cards in an application conforming to the invention.

In the application depicted in Figure 2, the following have been integrated with the motherboard (20): one first interface adapter (11) on the side of the control system (1); one second interface adapter (16) on the side of the auxiliary or controlled device (3, 4); two control signal bus adapters (14a, 14b) between the interface adapters (11, 16); one feedback signal bus adapter (18) between the interface adapters (11, 16) for the reception of the status signals of the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4); and a communication adapter (12) between the first interface adapter (11) and the bus adapter cards (14a, 14b). According to the basic principle of the invention, the motherboard (20) of the control unit (1) and the bus adapters (14a, 14b) illustrated in Figure 2 are microprocessorless, and the control signal to be transmitted is converted in the motherboard and in the bus adapters essentially without information processing by bus conver- sion from sequential into parallel form, and the feedback signal to be transmitted is converted essentially without information processing by bus conversion from parallel into sequential form. Alternatively the whole control unit 1 can be a microprocessorless unit. Even in this case, the control signal to be transmitted over the control unit (1) is converted without information processing by bus conversion from sequential into parallel form, and the feedback signal to be transmitted is converted without information processing by bus conversion from parallel into sequential form.

According to the invention, it is easy to modify and/or to add features to the con- trol unit (1) of the signal processing system. According to the invention, this is realized simply by inserting a new, detachable bus adapter (12, 14a, 14, 18) into the card slot (21, 22, 23).

The first interface adapter (11), which is connected to the integrated communica- tion adapter (12) of the motherboard (20), has been advantageously realized by a PCMCIA socket complying with the PCMCIA standard, for the purpose of the communication link (6). The interface adapter (11) makes both wireless and wired data transfer possible, which is illustrated in Figure 2 with the two alternative depictions of the arrow signifying the communication link (6): the straight arrow stands for wired communication and the z-arrow for wireless communication. Similarly, communication can take place in a wired or in a wireless form over the communication channel (7) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3).

As has been shown in Figure 2, the sequential control signal is received over the first interface adapter (11) of the control unit (1). It is in sequential form after the first interface adapter (11), but it is then converted into a bus signal of the control unit (1) by the communication adapter (12) inserted into the card slot (23) of the control unit's (1) motherboard (20). In the motherboard (20), this bus signal is controlled in the direction of the signal to the bus adapter (14a, 14b) by means of the forced control apparatus (13), which is located before the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b). In this, the internal bus signal of the control unit (1) is converted into a parallel on/off data signal conformable to the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4).

To make the control unit (1) more compact, the communication adapter (12) comprises a PCMCIA card; it is located between the first interface adapter (11) and the forced control apparatus (13) before the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), and the forced control apparatus (19) after the feedback signal bus adapter (18). Also the control signal bus adapters (14a, 14b), the feedback signal bus adapter (18) and the second interface adapter (16) each comprise a PCMCIA card.

The empty card slot (21) in Figure 2 illustrates the possibility of adding a different detachable adapter, or one with different features, to the signal processing system conforming to the invention.

The control unit (1) of the invention can be equipped with another forced control apparatus (15), which is set in the direction of the control signal after the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), and which forces the parallel on/off data signal to the control unit's (1) second interface adapter (16), over which the on/off data signal is transmitted to the communication channel (7), to be transmitted on to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3). To transmit the feedback signal over the control unit (1) to the control system (2), it is advisable to install forced control apparatuses (17, 19) in the control unit for the feedback signal as well, to be placed on the upstream and downstream sides of each feedback signal bus adapter (18). Nevertheless, it has to be emphasized that the necessary bus signal conversions for all the controlled devices can be realized with one bus adapter (14a). The second bus adapter (14b) has been shown only to illustrate the variability of the invention on the one hand, and a bus adapter (14b) equipped with additional features on the other.

Above, the invention was described only by means of one application, which was considered to be advantageous. This was naturally not to limit the present invention to the given application in any way; within the limits of the safety circuit outlined in the requirements above, many alternative solutions and variations are possible.

According to an application of the invention, the communication adapter (12) can be integrated with the control and or feedback signal bus adapter (14a, 14b; 18) to make the control unit (1) more compact. In accordance with another application, the whole bus adaptation of the control and feedback signals can be integrated within one bus adapter. In this case, the control unit (1) forms an integrated signal processing unit or adapter, which creates a direct bus between the control system (2) and the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device 4.

It has to be emphasized that the forced control apparatus (13, 15) of the control signal, if it is deemed necessary to fit one in the control unit (1) at all, can be integrated with the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), and/or the forced control apparatus (17, 19) of the feedback signal, if it is deemed necessary to fit one in the control unit (1) at all, can be integrated with the feedback signal bus adapter (18). It is also possible to construct the control unit (1) without a communication adapter (12), so that the control unit (1) receives the control signal of the control system (2) over the communication bus (6), and the bus cards (14a, 14b) inserted into the slots (21) of the motherboard of the control unit (1) comprehend only the control signal meant for each of them. Patent claims

Claims

1. A signal processing method, in which the sequential control signal transmitted by the control system (2), advantageously by a computer, is received over the first interface adapter (11) by the control unit (1), in which the control signal is converted into a parallel on off data signal, transmitted over a second interface adapter (16) to an auxiliary device (4) or to a controlled device (3), and in which the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device is received over the second interface adapter and the received feedback signal is converted into a signal to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter. The signal processing method is known by the fact that in order to process and to transmit signals from the control system (2) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3) and vice versa, the sequential control signal received by the bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18) of the control unit over the first interface adapter (11) is converted into a parallel on/off data signal in the bus adapter, which is transmitted over the second interface adapter (16) to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device, and the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device received by the bus adapter of the control unit over the second interface adapter is converted into a sequential signal in the bus adapter, to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.
2. A signal processing method conforming to patent claim 1, known by the fact that in the control unit (1), the control signal is converted into a parallel on/off data signal directly conformable to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3).
3. A signal processing method conforming to patent claims 1 and/or 2, known by the fact that the on/off data signal is transmitted over the second interface adapter (16) and the communication channel (7) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3), and that the feedback signal is transmitted over the second communication channel (7) and the interface adapter (16) to the control unit (1).
4. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 1 - 3, known by the fact that the sequential control signal is converted into a bus signal in the communication adapter (12), located after the first interface adapter (11) and before the bus adapter (14, 14b, 18), and that the bus signal is fed into the bus adapter, in which it is converted into a parallel on/off data signal conformable to the auxiliary device (4) or to the auxiliary device (3).
5. A signal processing method conforming to patent claim 4, known by the fact that by means of the first forced control apparatus (13), the bus signal is forced into the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b).
6. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 1 - 5, known by the fact that the on/off data signal is forced (15) from the bus adapter (14a, 14b) of the control unit into the second interface adapter (16).
7. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 1 - 6, known by the fact that in the case of the feedback signal, the status information of the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4) is received by the bus adapter (18) of the control unit (1).
8. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 1 - 7, known by the fact that the control and/or the feedback signal is transmitted essentially over the whole control unit (1) without any processing of information.
9. A signal processing method conforming to patent claim 8, known by the fact that in the bus adapters (14a, 14b, 18) connected with the motherboard (20) of the control unit (1), the control and/or the feedback signal is transmitted without any processing of information.
10. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 1 - 9, known by the fact that the parallel feedback signal is converted into a sequential form by bus signal conversion.
11. A signal processing system in accordance with the invention, in which the sequential control signal transmitted by the control system (2), advantageously by a computer, is received over the first interface adapter (11) by the control unit (1), which converts the control signal into a parallel on/off data and transmits the on/off data signal over the second interface adapter (16) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3), and which receives the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device over the second interface adapter and converts this feedback signal into a sequential form to be transmitted over the first interface adapter to the control system. The signal processing system is known by the fact that in order to process and to transmit signals from the control device (2) to the auxiliary device (4) or to the controlled device (3) and vice versa, the bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18) located in the control unit (1) converts the sequential control signal received over the first interface adapter (11) into a parallel on/off data signal, and transmits it over the second interface adapter (16) to the auxiliary device or to the controlled device. The bus adapter also converts the feedback signal of the auxiliary device or the controlled device received over the second interface adapter into a sequential signal, to be transmitted to the control system over the first interface adapter.
12. A signal processing system conforming to patent claim 11, known by the fact that the communication adapter (12) is set into the control unit (1) between the first interface adapter (11) and the bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18), through which the control signal of the control system (2) is transmitted to the bus adapter.
13. A signal processing system conforming to patent claim 12, known by the fact that the first forced control apparatus (13) is set between the communication adapter (12) and the bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18), to force the control signal of the control system (2) into the bus adapter.
14. A signal processing system conforming to patent claim 13, known by the fact that the second forced control apparatus (15) of the control signal is set between the bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18) and the second interface adapter (16), to force the parallel on/off data signal into the second interface adapter.
15. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 11 - 14, known by the fact that the control unit (1) has been set to receive and to process the feedback signals of the auxiliary or the controlled device (4, 3), and to transmit the feedback signals on to the control system (2).
16. A signal processing system conforming to patent claim 15, known by the fact that in the control unit (1), there is at least one feedback signal bus adapter
(18), to receive and to process the status information of the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4).
17. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 9 - 16, known by the fact that the first forced control apparatuses of the control signal (13) are set on the upstream side of the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), that the second forced control apparatuses of the control signal (15) are set on the downstream side of the bus adapter, that the first forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal (17) are set on the upstream side of the feedback signal bus adapter (18), and that the second forced control apparatuses of the feedback signal are set on the downstream side of the bus adapter (18).
18. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 11 - 17, known by the fact that there is a two-way communication between the control unit (1) and the controlled unit (3) or the auxiliary device (4), and that the control unit of the control system (1) contains a microprocessorless motherboard (20) and micro- processorless bus adapters (14a, 14b; 18), so that the motherboard and the bus adapters convert the control signals essentially without information processing by bus conversion from sequential into parallel form, and the feedback signals essentially without information processing by bus conversion from parallel into sequen- tial form.
19. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 11 - 18, known by the fact that the motherboard (20) of the control unit has been equipped with card slots (21; 22), to which it is possible to attach detachable bus adapters (14a, 14b; 18), advantageously bus adapter cards, for the control and the feedback signals.
20. A signal processing system conforming to patent claims 18 and 19, known by the fact that the communication adapter (12) comprises of a PCMCIA card; it is located between the first communication adapter (14a, 14b) of the control unit (1) and the first forced control apparatus (13) of the control signal preceding the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b), and between the second forced control apparatus (19) of the feedback signal following the feedback signal bus adapter (18).
21. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 11 - 20, known by the fact that the communication adapter (12) is integrated with the bus adapter
(14a, 14b, 18).
22. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 7 - 14, known by the fact that the first interface adapter (11), the control signal bus adapters (14a, 14b), the second interface adapter (16) and the feedback signal bus adapter (18) each comprise a PCMCIA card.
23. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 7 - 14, known by the fact that the communication adapter (12) is integrated with the control and/or feedback signal bus adapter (14a, 14b; 18), resulting in an integrated signal proc- essing adapter within the control unit (1), which forms a direct bus between the control system (2) and the controlled device (3) or the auxiliary device (4).
24. A signal processing system conforming to a patent claim 11 - 23, known by the fact that at least one forced control apparatus (13, 15) of the control signal is integrated with the control signal bus adapter (14a, 14b).
25. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 11 - 24, known by the fact that at least one forced control apparatus (17, 19) of the feedback signal is integrated with the feedback signal bus adapter (18).
26. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 11 - 24, known by the fact that the bus adaptation of the control and the feedback signals has essentially been integrated within a joint bus adapter (14a, 14b, 18).
27. A signal processing method conforming to a patent claim 11 - 26, known by the fact that the transmission of the control and/or the feedback signal between the control system (2) and the control unit (1) takes place through a wired or a wireless communication link (6).
EP20030735735 2003-06-25 2003-06-25 Signal processing method and signal processing system Withdrawn EP1652011A1 (en)

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CN103034152B (en) * 2012-12-18 2016-04-27 航天长峰朝阳电源有限公司 A signal transmission timing sequence control

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JPS6243703A (en) * 1985-08-21 1987-02-25 Fanuc Ltd Numerical control system
JPS63298404A (en) * 1987-05-28 1988-12-06 Fanuc Ltd Machine interface circuit
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