Siemens - Rapistan
Client Case Study

Siemens - Rapistan

Hard real-time, high-speed package tracking / sorting system (Rapid Sort Controller) for Siemens subsidiary.

Challenge

We played a critical role in defining and implementing a real-time (sub-2 milliseconds), high-speed package tracking and sorting solution for a Siemens high-speed conveyer system. As a result of our systems engineering expertise and Rapistan's 40 years of experience in conveyer systems, the solution is highly extensible, fully configurable and easily commissioned.

Solution

The Tracking and Sorting System comprises three main components: an induction-sequencing component of multiple lanes, a dispatching component that scans package labels and determines destination, and a sorting component that distributes packages to various lanes or conveyer belts traveling up to 600ft/min. The dispatching component scans packages identified by UPC bar code or it can be configured to scan RFID tags. The RFID alternative is not constrained by tag location or orientation and is 100% accurate at 600ft/min.

Siemens has numerous hardware to perform induction, dispatching and sorting and will continue to evolve additional components. Combined with the vast number of client commissioning environments, many variations of systems components and hardware arise. We revolutionized the cumbersome legacy approach with a single, horizontal and flexible system that can be configured for various clients, client systems (hardware and software) and installation needs.

We also created infrastructural frameworks such as The Event Channel, over which components can send and receive messages, and The Configuration Manager, which enables plug and play implementation for various components and configures appropriate hardware devices automatically. Our Java/Swing-ported version of The Event Channel was used to generate real-time statistics of the system: number of packages sorted per lane, missed packages, fault conditions, etc.

The system uses QNX and GNU C++ for hard real-time development and a Windows 2000 machine running Java for administrative functionality. System configuration data was stored as an XML file.

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