Albatros is a development system for industrial automation logics, with trajectory generators that can interpolate several axes, up to 128. With this software you can configure machine groups and subgroups, combining each of them to the inputs (analog and digital sensors), outputs (analog and digital actuators), motor sources (analog and digital axes), but also logics, variables, arrays, matrices, counters, timers, along with the specific work functions, conveyed in GPL, an object-oriented automation language created by Tpa and our thirty years’ worth of experience.
The user interface and help is available translated in ten languages: Italian, English, German, Chinese, French, Spanish, Czech, Russian, Dutch, and Polish. Albatros allows you to manage devices connected to different fieldbuses; it is also possible to have a mixed configuration of the fieldbuses available in the application. The fieldbuses the suite can manage are CANopen, EtherCAT, MECHATROLINK-II and GreenBUS 4.0, i.e. Tpa’s proprietary bus. Albatros can be installed on computer platforms equipped with Microsoft operating systems.
Our application has two goals:
acting as a development environment to configure the hardware environment and define the machine cycles;
acting as a runtime environment to display the hardware device status and the graphical representation of the machine working (said representation is called “synoptics”). This peculiarity allows changing the logics at any given moment, even years after having developed the application, on any machine managed by Albatros, and testing them with all the integrated development tools.
Albatros is an OLE Automation server: this means it allows third-part programs to get and edit the status of the logical and physical devices managed by the application.
Albatros displays the tree of configured devices on several levels. The plant level consists of several machines; at machine level you can select the different groups that form it; at group level you can select the different subgroups that form it.
All of this makes reaching a device simple, which is essential to be able to efficiently automate plants consisting of thousands of sensors and actuators. Thanks to multitasking (up to 512 parallel tasks), Albatros allows you to structure projects, dedicating a functional machine group to each task. The system provides 512 PLCs exchanging data at the same speed as that of the microprocessors accessing the RAM memory.
Albatros simplifies defining the working cycles and uses a specific programming language that gives even non-programmers the chance to describe the cycles. Tpa’s programming language is GPL, an acronym for “General Purpose Language”. GPL consists of the most common control flow statements, multitasking control instructions, mathematical instructions, comparison and conditional jump instructions, and of several types of data of different complexity, operating on hardware devices. There are specific groups of instructions to interpolate the axis movements.
Albatros allows you to describe with an editor the behavioural modes of each device group. Thanks to the parameter functions, by passing sensors and actuators as parameters, we can get an automation code that can be used again later and stored in libraries. The debugger allows for procedure testing even in absence of physical devices, following the step-by-step code, setting the breakpoint, displaying at each step the status of the devices and the content of the variables. This way, when we switch on the machines, we will be able to have 80% of the code already tested in simulation mode.
Albatros’ diagnostics allows you to display the sensor status and manage the status of actuators, axes, and logical devices (variables, flags, timers, etc.). As for axes, there is a calibration board with oscilloscope, convenient to calibrate the dynamic characteristics of the motors associated to the kinematic chains. With Albatros you can generate synoptics.
Albatros logs the cycle and system errors in an XML file; this way, it will be possible to view the errors and make targeted searches or to group specific errors, so to have a more accurate analysis. The software includes a logic analyser that can track up to 16 channels; the maximum sampling frequency for all channels is 1 ms.
Three types of algorithms are available to generate interpolation trajectories:
the first type lets you carry out linear, circular, and helical interpolations on any oriented plane in space;
the second type, RTCP, allows for linear interpolations expressed through micro-vectors, with reference to the surface of the piece, managing the real-time counting of the movements towards the arbor and all the dynamic adjustments of the axis necessary to cut down all sharp speed variations;
the third one, MULTILINEARE, lets you carry out linear interpolations on an imaginary curve abscissa, determined by the interpolation of a maximum of 16 axes. In this mode, you will be able to employ the maximum speed of the main axes on each single segment, and eventually slow it down, in order to consent the other interpolating axes to adhere to their own dynamics.
Albatros provides in this way sophisticated numerical control functions, so that it is possible to manage the most common geometries used by 5-axis machines with rotating double heads.