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<p>Sequence control is an important part of the control software in mechatronics machines. A new model-based technique automatically generates sequence-control programs by integrating various kinds of design information. </p> <p>Designing mechatronics machines involves both hardware and software. A well-known bottleneck in developing such machines is software development, even if the control is based on simple sequence control. (Sequence control is a way to control the motions of devices according to the conditions and the sequence prepared in advance.) This article describes a system that automates this process. </p> <p>Although many researchers have studied methods to automatically generate control programs, most of these programs use transformation knowledge, from formal specifications to codes. For instance, Yasuko Nakayama has developed a technique to automatically generate sequence-control programs from the requirements for objects represented in the conceptual level. Henson Graves has also succeeded in automatic programming through generation of actions to be activated, based on functional connections among a plant's components. However, these techniques share two basic problems: </p> <p>? Specifications for the control and those for the mechanism are often developed independently and inconsistently.</p> <p>? The designer cannot effectively use information about the mechanism in the software-design stage. </p> <p>In other words, the scope of previous studies is limited to software design, and these techniques are not fully integrated with a mechanical CAD system. This results in a concurrent engineering problem that needs to address sharing design information and knowledge within a design team. In the case of mechatronics design, software developers and machine designers should share such information and knowledge. That is why previous techniques to automatically generate control software are not powerful enough to support the whole process of designing mechatronics machines. </p>

Y. Shimomura, T. Tomiyama, Y. Umeda and T. Sakao, "Model-Based Automatic Generation of Sequence-Control Programs from Design Information," in IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 12, no. , pp. 54-61, 1997.
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