Recommend me reading material for my project ?

Thread Starter

Zedabee

Joined Nov 14, 2022
3
Looking for some advise/direction on reading material for my project which I will try describe in steps below:

1: Log slices are placed onto a conveyor belt
2: Laser mounted onto conveyor sends data (for log slice size calculation)
3: Log drops onto pressure plate to signal log is ready to split
4: Based on log slice calculation, hydraulic ram moves correct size blade into position
5: Main hydraulic ram fires, forcing log through blade, then returns
6: Next log falls down onto pressure plate which starts log slice calculation and blade postition selection etc.

All motors/rams are driven by hydraulics and feature 12v solenoids.

So, I have some experience with automation using HomeAssistant and my initial thoughts were to simply build this system using the HomeAssistant environment...... but then I started thinking that there probably is a much more targeted environment for the system I want to build.

Could anyone possibly direct me to some topics I should go and research for this project?.

Many thanks for any direction on this.

I will attach a very basic drawing I threw together with lots missing just to give an idea of what the machine is:
 

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Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,570
I would recommend an investigation of Ladder Logic. In the age before computers this was how industrial processes were controlled. In the modern era it is still used in conjunction with a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). Most Community Colleges have a one or two semester course in this material which I highly recommend.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,755
2: Laser mounted onto conveyor sends data (for log slice size calculation)
3: Log drops onto pressure plate to signal log is ready to split
4: Based on log slice calculation, hydraulic ram moves correct size blade into position

Have you ever seen or used a log splitter? I ask this because I have. My splitter will split logs of a wide variety of diameters(as do any conventional splitter) using only a single wedge/cutter. I believe from what you have described so far, your making things more complicated than necessary. Or is there more to this project that your not saying?
 

Thread Starter

Zedabee

Joined Nov 14, 2022
3
Thanks Papa, will have a read up on that.... could you give any info on why this route would be better suited than something like Homeassistant which I am drawn to purely because it is rather newbie friendly to attach hardware and create routines in.

Shortbus, I have used many processors, yes. The measuring and changing splitting wedge is actually just a fancy feature I would like as I split mostly Arb waste which come in all sorts of sizes, but this is a dream feature to work on in the future, I added it to the project here as it represents the hardest part of what I would like to do. The project itself is more geared toward removing the need for an operator on my processor where having someone stood there simply pulling 3 levers is a waste of time to me. There is also a chaninsaw to control but didn't bother putting it in the diagram as im sure solutions to all the other parts will cover that too,
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,570
Thanks Papa, will have a read up on that.... could you give any info on why this route would be better suited than something like Homeassistant which I am drawn to purely because it is rather newbie friendly to attach hardware and create routines in.

Shortbus, I have used many processors, yes. The measuring and changing splitting wedge is actually just a fancy feature I would like as I split mostly Arb waste which come in all sorts of sizes, but this is a dream feature to work on in the future, I added it to the project here as it represents the hardest part of what I would like to do. The project itself is more geared toward removing the need for an operator on my processor where having someone stood there simply pulling 3 levers is a waste of time to me. There is also a chaninsaw to control but didn't bother putting it in the diagram as im sure solutions to all the other parts will cover that too,
Ultimately you can use any tools that you find which are convenient. I do think there is a fundamental knowledge base that you need to have before tackling a project like this. You need some context or framework that will allow you to put the problems you will encounter in perspective to allow the visualization of a solution.

As an example, you want to start a process with a momentary switch, and you want to run the process to completion without having to hold down the switch. This is an example of a logical 'OR' function and in ladder logic it is called a "sealing contact". Two different names for the identical concept. Another example is the emergency STOP, which is implemented as a logical AND function as either a normally closed switch or a normally closed relay contact.
 

Thread Starter

Zedabee

Joined Nov 14, 2022
3
Thanks Papa, I have started looking into the ladder logic and reading some guides...... I can see how everything would work apart from the log measurement at the moment (unless I used a number of laser trip sensors as inputs and the logic to work out the output from how many were tripped)..... but I am early in my reading, so I'm sure things will get much more complex!. Thanks for the suggestion!.
 

bassbindevil

Joined Jan 23, 2014
634
There's probably books on automation that include case studies. There's going to be a nearly infinite number of ways to build something like this. Maybe instead of an optical scanner, all you need is a hinged stick or flap with a wheel or roller on the end; depending on the angle it reaches as the log slides under it, you select the appropriate wedge.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,755
as I split mostly Arb waste which come in all sorts of sizes,
If he is working with what they call ARB(arborist) waste around here, I can see no way of doing it without an operator. There is nothing I'm aware of that can decide on how to split a log with a crotch in it better than someone skilled in splitting wood.
 
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