HydraForce Inc. in Lincolnshire, Ill., says software from Caterpillar OEM Solutions, Peoria, Ill., helped it program the electrohydraulics controls for the Multi-hammer Processor.
It uses 10 or 12 hydraulically operated hammers to pound concrete highways or airport runways into small pieces. While most concrete breakers are attachments, the Processor is a stand-alone vehicle. Operators control hammer drop-height, number of drops per foot, and drop sequence, depending on the type of concrete.
“Before, we used logic gates and Boolean code to program such controls, a difficult task at best,” says HydraForce engineer Chris Shader. “Fortunately, you don’t have to be a software engineer to use Cat Composer. Users can easily define machine-operation modes, mode-to-mode transition requirements, and actions to execute in each mode.”
Overall, it only took about 17 days to program the controls. “Besides helping devise algorithms for sequencing hammers, the software contains precompiled blocks of code that, for example, work with sensors to provide diagnostics, signal conversion, calibration, and scaling to engineering units,” says Shader.
Also a function-block-diagram editor in the software lets users create a composite block by dragging and dropping smaller chunks of code from the software library. “Users can thereby solve large, difficult control problems by piecing together smaller tested parts of the problem,” says Shader. “Another editor helps in designing components such as electrohydraulic controls.”
Designers can code control parameters into nonvolatile memory. Operators can then tune parameters via application software to more easily generate sophisticated code that can be reused in other applications.