Hardware system variants


Our control system is based on two basic concepts as a prerequisite for the high availability of the line: division of tasks and redundancy. Control hardware and software are designed on the basis of these principles.
Division of control tasks on several hardware system components increases the availability of the line in comparison to a monolithic system. Even the most sophisticated control is subject to an ongoing process of improvements or is frequently modified as permanent adaptation to the customers’ requirements, especially in the start-up phase. Division of control tasks on several components allows partial switching-off, partial updates and the exchange of system components without having to shut down the complete plant. Thus, line data are kept and time-consuming complete new starts can be avoided. Unavoidable interruptions of production can be reduced to an absolute minimum.

Redundancy in form of identical hardware multiply available in the system allows the distribution of tasks by switching the software during ongoing operation. Thus, operation can be kept running in all cases to virtually 100%. Further security measures are installed, e.g. transport equipment and other periphery is equipped with independent control units. Emergency actions and rescue operations can be executed even if control fails completely.


Minimum system

The minimum system consists of two computers (server computer and peripheral computer). Basic measuring, controlling and regulating tasks, independently running control circuits, drive control, positioning, position control etc. are outsourced to the peripheral computer. The server computer contains the complete man-machine interface, order and article management as well as process and drive sequence control. A relational database system controls the centralized data management supplying all other computers within the system with data, too. At a minimum system, the server computer executes all operating tasks.


Default system

The default system comprises of three computers, i.e. a server computer, a peripheral computer and an additional client computer. Thus, another computer supplement the minimum system. In normal operation, this client computer functions as a fully graphic terminal for data viewing and operation of the line with the same functions and access options as the server computer. Therefore, the server computer is spared operating tasks and can be installed together with the peripheral computer in a safe place without operator access. This way, the core of the system is protected. Software and hardware of the client computer are identical to those of the server computer. All server data are mirrored and thus available on the client, and they can be restored any time in case data got lost. In case of error, e.g. at failure of server PC or peripheral computer, one of the so far clients is simply reconfigured to become server or peripheral computer. This provides redundancy and reliability. An internal observation program automatically executes the reconfiguration and new start of the reconfigured computer as soon as the failure is detected. It could not be easier.


Comfort system

The default system comprises of several computers, i.e. a server computer, a peripheral computer and any number of client computers. These clients can be added to the system in the desired number. Thus, loading and unloading stations, test stations, pump stations or waste water equipment get their own operating places according to demand. Each client – as in the default system – can execute the server’s tasks in case of server failure. Here again, server data are mirrored on all clients. Client PCs are used at the customer’s will. Each upgrading can subsequently be executed at any time. All computers in the system are connected to a centralized, relational database administered by the server. This way, all line data are immediately at disposal on each subsequently connected client, without further action. Naturally, the system’s tasks are automatically distributed to the available computers, too, in case of failure.


Combined system

This is the single computer variant and thus the smallest and most cost-effective variant of the computer system. Just one PC executes all control tasks. However, this concerns only the used hardware; the modular structure of the software is the same as with large systems. This configuration is used for small and smallest systems or for single-machine controls. For controlling single machines, often connected to a compact PC format, this configuration is a so-called “Embedded” system; e.g. as alternative to an independent PLC control with the advantage of higher flexibility, an essentially sophisticated graphic user interface, substantially larger user-friendliness and lower costs. Thereby, a path is kept open to extent the combined solution to a larger system.


Software modules


A large number of lines controlled by our company are prototypes with respectively different topology and various equipment, e.g. consumers and sensors. However, hardly any modification of the source code is necessary for the adaptation of the control. The reason for this is simple: our system is already well thought out, modularly designed. Modifications and adaptations are parameterized, but programmed only in exceptional cases. This saves time and creates reliability – for the customers benefit.

MCR module (measuring, controlling, regulating)

The MCR module is responsible for all basic measuring, controlling and regulating tasks. These are combined as a module and delegated to an independent application – the peripheral computer control program. In addition, the peripheral computer control program runs on a separate computer. Once equipped by the control computer with data and orders, this module regulates process variables, records, processes and displays measured values, executes transport processes and controls drives independently and without further interference of the main computer system. This way, all process parameters are safely maintained during updates, maintenance measures or switching-off of the main computer system since the involved control circuits will not be interrupted. Thus, main computer capacity is spared for production and process control as well as for handling the man-machine interface.


Visualization module

This module comprises a vivid and intuitively to be operated user interface. In the present standard version as 2D system, the operator is provided a realistic display of all plant components. This way, the line state, e.g. distribution and type of the material in the line, all transport movements and the switch state of all aggregates can be viewed at a glance at any time. As default, I/O state display and signal state tables of all individual components are integrated. Additionally, a 3D visualization interface is available, particularly displaying in a realistic manner peripheral handling units and transport equipment incl. mechanical couplings and mobility levels. In this display mode, all control tools already familiar in 2D visualization are available and are supplemented by vivid and descriptive maintenance instructions. Source of the control signals and the way of their generation is also vividly presented. Thus, detection of error causes is made easier and sped up. Consulting the manual and scrutinizing the construction drawings can be spared in most of the cases since the control contains a completely realistic model by means of which it is possible to draw the necessary conclusions.

For many years, we have been using our visualization to offer the user a realistic impression of the three-dimensionality of the objects and parts of the line to be controlled. This is reached by a perspective presentation plus some other tricks of representation techniques. We call the result 3D display in order to clearly stand out from the usual, completely flat representation in quite a number of visualization surfaces.

Further development of our visualization also offers the three-dimensional representation of the involved objects; however, with freely selectable viewing positions and viewing directions. In addition, most objects are designed exactly according to the construction drawings concerning their coupling to other objects. This is a good reason to raise this further development of our visualization system to a 3D+ system.


Process control module

The process sequence control module with different approaches realizes the implementation of the set sequence of process steps (process follow) into a matching sequence of transport commands to the transport equipment. FLS stands for a system for automatic implementation of a time-way diagram into a sequence of transport instructions. TLS stands for a system for automatic implementation of a set process sequence into a sequence of transport instructions.

AMT is one of only few manufacturers who have perfected and extended the drive sequence control system (FLS) so that a generated TWD (time-way diagram) can directly be loaded into the computer system for processing. This is done at program modifications without further commissioning work directly via remote service at the customer.
Continuous recording of all process steps of the transport equipment at any time allows analysis in case of error, at throughput losses or cycle time violations; thus, permanent traceability is guaranteed.

Both systems chose the transport processes to be executed in consideration of the product mix; e.g. the combination of different processes in the same production interval, and in consideration of the human factor; e.g. fluctuations of the equality of loading releases and of all relevant technical data of the plant. By help of TLS, the operator can implement own programs and program variants in a short time. Process supply created on the basis of a time-way diagram can serve as starting point for the creation of program variants. This way, a functional starting point with sound throughput is created that can be used for step-by-step execution of process-related adaptations.


Production planning module

This module comprises the complete order management, article library, rack management incl. technological history, rack observation and notification of rack maintenance cycles, rack graphics incl. the display of faulty and blocked clip-on positions, and barrel management analogous to the rack management. Production scheduling means the organization of the material flow through the plant, the combination of flightbar, barrel or partial charge sequences optimal for throughput and quality, and the management of required and actual production quantities. At bulk material, optimal batch distribution is determined in consideration of production time, current consumption, and article-specific settings for the barrel weight. An integrated residual quantity optimization prevents the occurrence of technologically non-producible residual quantities.


Throughput optimization module

Optimal determination of the entry sequence is of particular importance for the throughput. The respectively next flightbar is determined on the basis of the available material supply or stock of orders, within the time interval defined by the cycle time. This also works without storage stations. In case the required quantities to be produced were previously entered into a so-called material supply list, so the system determines which flightbars with which articles will be consecutively released in order to optimally process the order quantities. Order data can be entered manually or adopted automatically via a data interface to the customer’s internal PPS system.


AMT offers a wide range of products and implementation strategies for upgrading and modernization of our customers’ lines. Starting with the “mere” replacement of the control software and the related computer technology via the additional replacement of the subsequent I/O module hardware right up to a complete solution including the replacement of the switchboards – we offer the tailor-made solution for upgrading your line control to an up-to-date technology independent of your need of innovation. Field bus systems for signal output and signal input are default for new lines. At the same time, we have the ability to connect our control system to any old system regardless of the type.

We do not shun any challenge in the field of control technology. Please contact us! We would like to send further info material and explain in detail what possibilities are at your disposal and how to realize your desired control system.

There are manifold requirements to a modern control system. Some easy to understand main requirements result in a number of deduced detail requirements. We explicitly take account of each of these requirements by way of the range of functions of our control system.


Optimal throughput

  • Optimized mixed processes = short throughput / cycle time
  • Optimized entry sequence = elimination of empty cycles
  • Optimized loading = time-controlled loading / unloading settings
  • Optimization of availability = minimization of the line standstill by detailed error hints for each individual aggregate; incl. related extract of the circuit diagram, PI diagram, aggregate data, aggregate image and installation place
  • Optimization of maintenance = by assigning monitoring for each aggregate and part within the line


High product quality

Reliable attainment of the required quality by steady process conditions:

  • Processes = sophisticated processes to achieve an optimum quality
  • Reproducibility = consistent quality
  • Process parameters = exact compliance of the process parameters in accordance with the process settings
  • Maintenance = maintain optimal utilization features for materials and machines


High efficiency

  • Consumption and energy efficiency = low input of consumer products
  • Process efficiency = time-optimized and consumption-optimized processes
  • Staff efficiency = effective deployment of staff
  • Maintenance efficiency = concentration of maintenance measures, avoidance of premature substitution / repair, prolongation of the lifetime of aggregates by preventive maintenance


High flexibility

Flexibility means fast, simple and far-reaching adaptation of the control to current conditions and requirements without further programming effort. This concerns different ranges of the control:

  • Process definition and modification = fast implementation of new processes and process modifications
  • Aggregate control = flexible control without further programming works, cyclical, time-controlled or event-controlled switching-on / switching-off
  • Aggregate parameterization = uncomplicated adding of new aggregates
  • Easy modification of the I/O assignment
  • Easy extension or modification of the functioning by re-parameterization of the open modules in the system


High availability

We achieve a high degree of availability by optimal usage of the production time, e.g. process and entry optimization as well as by minimizing production downtimes due to planned or unintended measures. Planned downtimes of production comprise maintenance measures, updates and reconstructions. Unintended interruptions of production occur because of damages, failures, technical breakdown and malfunction.

At cycle-bound lines, our drive sequence control avoids any unintended empty cycles during production. Production downtimes are minimized by our system of partial switching-off. At this, only those parts of the line are temporarily decoupled from automatic mode that have to be modified; the remaining production continues unchanged. This is valid for maintenance measures, for short-time interventions for trouble-shooting, for the assessment of the product or the production facilities.

Maintenance measures can be planned strain-controlled or wear-and-tear-controlled. The necessary data are delivered by our integrated runtime monitoring, and the maintenance-planning module generates corresponding information for the user, if and only if the real strain, tear, and wear of the respective line parts require maintenance. This way, production is interrupted only as long and as often as absolutely necessary.

Apart from the actual standstill times, production downtimes comprise the times for stopping and re-starting the line to full production mode. Since we do not depend on special bath occupancy or on special positions and states of the transport equipment for re-starting the line, it can practically be switched out of every state to production mode. Corrective drives are automatically determined and executed. This saves time for stopping and re-starting production since there is no need to wait for reaching basic position, for example.

Our built-in tools for an accelerated fault finding reduce production downtimes in case of error to a minimum. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional aggregate images give a realistic impression of the moving state of the respective aggregate as it presents the control due to the read sensor signals. Sensors and signal generators are displayed at the installation place together with their actual signal state. Thus, signal chains can be checked, signal states can be verified and error causes can be detected faster.


High operating comfort

High operating comfort occurs if:

  • operating sequences are clear, logically structured and straightly displayed in the control system.
  • frequently occurring operating tasks can be executed by only few inputs and mouse clicks.
  • recurrent operating sequences can be combined and retrieved at push of a button.
  • the control interface is ergonomically structured according to generally accepted standards.

In our control interface, a possibly realistic and precise graphic display triggers the elements to be controlled. Operators find quickly and in a simple manner what they want to control by mere showing instead of cumbersome naming and explaining. An alphanumeric display shows all data necessary for controlling and viewing. All aggregates and sensors to be controlled are connected to individual control panels that can be used to set operating modes, switch states and configuration values and to query operating states and events. In addition, there are tabular overviews for everything to get a quick overview and to change configuration data quickly, and to conveniently, simultaneously switch several aggregates.


Full traceability

Traceability is the first condition for process analysis and quality assurance. Here we offer uninterrupted traceability of instantaneous values of process variables by visible and permanently updated display of measuring values, long-term recording of process variables trends via trend curves (data logging) and histograms, comprehensive alarm message and recording system, creation of protocols on the plant performance and throughput in different formats, e.g. due to produced bathes, partial charges, flightbars, number of articles, weight, surface.

Wear and tear, maintenance requirements, strain of equipment can be traced in a Runtime protocol and a Consumption protocol where switch cycles are counted, operating times are summed-up and the consumption of chemical media, anodes and auxiliary material is recorded.

A protocol output system makes this considerable amount of data available to the operator. Search, sort and filter functions are used for the respectively wanted, selective data view. Thus, even large data volumes become clear and manageable. For subsequent processing, the protocol outputs can be exported in common formats when either required or automatically, periodically repeated for the exchange of data with the customers’ EDP systems.


High security

Establishment and preservation of security certainly belong to the far-reaching and most important issues in automation and control technology. Plant manufacturers and plant operators have to take a wide range of precautions to ensure security. Here, security means primarily to avoid, to avert and to minimize potential risks and damages to persons and equipment. The detection of entering hazardous areas and emergency OFF concepts are the key security measures to protect the life and health of humans in and around production plants. In the field of switchboard construction and in the conception and realization of the complete electrical system of the plants, we together with the line manufacturer make our contribution to fulfilling the legal provisions and beyond.

Yet, we define security as a task for the control in a wider sense. Take, for example, operating security as protection against improper operation. Generally, user inputs are checked for plausibility in order to avoid unreasonable inputs. Detailed graphic displays of aggregates and sensors as well as schematic drawings, flightbar and article photos help to avoid confusion.

Access security means protection against unauthorized access. Password-protected, graduated access restriction clearly determines who may access which parts of the program. Automatic, time-controlled logout closes “forgotten” accesses and prevents misuse. Failure safety is the obligation to prevent plant downtimes and production losses. Data security means protection against loss of data; for this, we use automatic backups and data mirroring. Finally, reaction reliability means protection against the omission of important actions. Our control communicates with the operator via an information system with text messages on screen or printer, SMS messages, horn or lamp signals or in a visual symbolic or illustrative manner. Naturally, messages to the operator are recorded and in case acknowledgement is required, so this acknowledgment will be recorded incl. date, event and name of the confirming person. This is another safety aspect: to ensure that all events and reactions of the operating staff registered by the system can be traced back later for a reconstruction of the course of events.


Rebuilding scenarios


We efficiently execute modernizations of existing lines trying to keep down times as low as possible. Modernization of a control system while maintaining control cabinet, electrical consumers or sensors just takes to switch-off the production plant for 2 to 3 days, meaning that it can usually be realized over a weekend. Thus, this results in no one or as maximum one day of actual shutdown of production.

Usually, we execute partial modernizations, extensions of aggregates and devices during ongoing operation. Our control is hot plugging capable with regard to hardware and software. As far as older hardware does not allow this possibility, we will most definitely find a solution to minimize interruption in production.

From the start, HMI 2017 software has been structured so that a complete exchange of operating interface, article management, order management or other control components can be executed without interrupting control circuits of the line. Preparatory works in the control system are executed without completely switching-off the line during ongoing operation.


Modifications and extensions

Despite the apparently lower effort in comparison with new lines, modifications and extensions are a challenge no less significant. The modification of existing systems, the implementation of new functions and devices require comprehensive technical knowledge the more so as we also look after systems that may possibly be non-marketable for some time; however still meet their objectives.

We do not dread upgrading and extending those systems. Naturally, we would like to provide advice on your way to a new, cost-effective and modern control.


Another technical and logistic challenge is the optimum integration of old and new technologies, the implementation of upgrades and improvements into existing systems. Demands for spare parts availability, increased requirements for quality management and quality certification, minimization of the risk of failures or the simple desire to benefit from the tremendously increased software and hardware possibilities that were developed in recent years alone – have in most of the cases compulsorily to be realized by a modernization of the plant and control technologies.

We support you in the development of cost-saving modernization concepts that we will immediately put into practice for you. Depending on the requirements and your propensity to invest, these might be partly or completely to be realized upgrades. Optionally, we will install only new control software or new control software incl. computer technology or a new PC control incl. new switchboards and fieldbus technology. Even older installations will come closer to modern manufacturing technology by a new operating surface and new PC technology.

New plants


In over 35 years of company history, AMT Automatisierungstechnik GmbH has automated more than 700 new plants. Practically all of our customers are regular customers; a significant number of them operate various lines with our control system at different locations and who will always come back to order new features or control systems for further lines.

The spectrum of lines automated by AMT Automatisierungstechnik GmbH ranges from small, one-row electroplating lines with just one transport device up to multi-row, multi-storey major plants with several dozen transporters, loading / unloading stations and peripheral handling devices. Even small manually operated lines without automatic material transport profit by the usage of a modern control system as offered by our company, resulting in production transparency, exactness of the process flow and traceability of the manufacturing processes.