by Brian Matthews
Industrial process automation projects involve the design of two closely integrated parts: the electro-mechanical equipment, such as motors, power systems, sensors and actuators; and the control systems, which are typically distributed, real-time computing systems. Typically, each new automation project is developed by adapting and combining sections of designs from previous projects on an ad-hoc basis. The manual nature of this process is a major constraint to better design quality and lower costs.
In the TORUS project, RAL is collaborating with industrial manufacturers of control systems for ships and cement plants to address this problem by improving the systematic reuse in the design of the control systems.
The components of the design can be categorised into three information types:
In order to facilitate reuse, we would like to integrate these types so that information can easily be stored and reused within a project and between projects.
RAL's role in the TORUS project is to develop an integrated data model capturing these three information types and exploiting their integration for reuse. This is being done using the ISO standard data modelling language STEP/ EXPRESS.
We are modelling the control systems for cement plants in EXPRESS in conjunction with a high-level design methodology known as Goal-Function Modelling. Further, we are describing process models in the EXPRESS-P extension to EXPRESS providing a smooth integration between the data and process models.
Documents, however, are being modelled in SGML. RAL is developing a prototype Document Management System (DMS) to enable the reuse of documents by integrating them into an EXPRESS based system. This transforms document models in SGML into EXPRESS data models. The transformations are formally defined and implemented in the DMS. We are also exploring the reuse of template documents which are instantiated by data represented in EXPRESS by building a generic model for reuse of documents incorporating EXPRESS data.
More information on the WWW at: http://www.cis.rl.ac.uk/proj/torus.html