Case Studies

AutoFire portlan4

The AutoFire project saw C-Born design a heavy-duty embedded control system to be used in the challenging aluminium smelter bake furnaces environment. In October 1993 the Institution of Engineers Australia recognised C-Born Software Systems for Significant Engineering Achievement for the Bakes Furnace Fire Control System (AutoFire.)

The system as originally based on a Datricon CPU card using a 6809 microprocessor as its core. The system used single ended analog inputs to measure draft and temperature and solid state output relays.

A custom CPU card was later designed to meet the extra demand on processor power. The CPU had a 68340 microprocessor as its core. It also had custom designed differential sigma delta analog input cards and configurable solid state output relays.

A multitasking operating system was implemented by C-Born that scheduled tasks based on priorities and process type. The process software for these systems controls the draft and temperature of the furnace based on predefined data and operating parameters. The predefined data includes heat up curves, PID and other data. The menu data is fully downloadable. The controllers create process data records that can be accessed via network connections and stored by other programs on the server. The software for these systems was written mainly in C language, with some operating systems functions written in assembler.

Recently the system was redesigned using Rockwell PLC and Point IO inputs and outputs. The software for control code was written using Windows CE

Supervisory software was written in windows C++ and Visual Basics that runs on a server. (Earlier versions were written for both VAX’s and Alpha OSF running Digital Unix.)

Software suite included:

      • Networking code to communicate via various supported media
      • Programs for checking controller operation and downloading new software as required
      • Programs that collect data from the controllers and store in in database
      • Web interface that displays the status of the system as well as creating data plots and alarm reports. Interface also supports remote access to control systems

The controllers communicate with each other and the supervisory system through either a RS485 two wire network supported by a small industrial server or via wireless network. The industrial server communicates to the supervisory server either via RS232 or Ethernet using TCP/IP.