Conveyor Modelling - material handling

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Michael Cody
Michael Cody on 22 Apr 2019
Answered: Krishna Akella on 23 Apr 2019
I am looking for some help for a general approach to model a material hadnling conveyor system.
Material is powder, not unit items.
Have a number of feed conveyors feeding onto on a main conveyor and then into a process.
For each conveyor would like to model speed, coveyor capacity and postiion of material.
If a conveyor is overloaded beyond its capacity with material, then will stop due to "overfill".
Also if a reciving conveyor stops, material will back up on feeding conveyor.
Aim is model different scenarios e.g. continuos feed at different speeds, batch type "dump" on coveyor.
Graphics can be quite simple.
I have seem some conveyor examples that are quite detailed but aim is modelling electro/mechanical properites. I don' t need this detail initially.
Of course might be intersting to enhance model later to include such details.
I am guessing this is a mix of Simulink, Stateflow and SimEvents. But can't fiure out how to get started.
Does any one know of something similar I could look at to get some ideas?

Answers (1)

Krishna Akella
Krishna Akella on 23 Apr 2019
Hi Michael,
That's a very interesting problem! You want to model "continous" material instead of lumped material, flowing on a conveyor. However, the existing conveyor block in SimEvents library accepts discrete entities as against continuous material. And the conveyor capacity is defined in terms of the lengths (total conveyor length, total length of the discrete entities accepted by the conveyor so far, and the separation to be maintained between entities).
So I am wondering, if you want to use the existing SimEvents conveyor, you will have to recast your problem to fit these constraints.
Would it be possible to model in such a way that, we approximate the continuous powder to be discrete but tiny chunks? We then push these small chunks of powder on to the conveyors at a high enough rate, say one chunk every 0.1 second. You can use an 'entity input switch' block to model multiple feeding conveyors feeding a main conveyor.
I don't understand the piece where you say, "Also if a reciving conveyor stops, material will back up on feeding conveyor." Does that mean, if the main conveyor stops, the feeding conveyors stop too? Or the feeding conveyors continue to run but the material keeps accumulating on them?
Also, the source code for the Conveyor block is available for you to modify as per your needs.

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