News Column

Patent Application Titled "Controller, Information Processing Apparatus, and Recording Medium" Published Online

September 9, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors OKAMURA, Kotaro (Kusatsu-shi, JP); OTA, Masanori (Otsu-shi, JP); NISHIYAMA, Yoshihide (Yokohama-shi, JP); YAOITA, Koji (Kyoto-shi, JP); NAKASAKI, Masaru (Otsu-shi, JP), filed on November 25, 2013, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is OMRON Corporation.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to a control system including a controller which executes a user program periodically, and more particularly, to a control system which is connected to a database system.

"Machinery and equipment used in many production sites are typically controlled by a control system including, as a main component, a controller such as a programmable logic controller (hereinbelow, also called 'PLC'). In such a control system, various log output functions are installed so that a failure which occurs at the time of constructing the system or during operation can be examined ex-post facto.

"As prior art Documents related to the controller having such functions, Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 2012-208932 discloses a PLC system including a PLC controlling operation of a device and a programmable display device connected to the PLC via a communication line. In the PLC system, the PLC includes an information storage which stores state information corresponding to the predetermined operation state in information stored in the information storage, into a predetermined storing unit, when a predetermined operation state of the device is detected.

"In recent years, a control system in which a PLC is connected to a database system and data held in the PLC is stored in the database system is also known. In such a control system, when the PLC accesses the database system, there is a case that a process is required to be completed within predetermined time. For example, in the case where a control system is used in a process of production or test in a factory or the like, data which is sequentially generated has to be processed within proper time. Due to occurrence of a failure or inconvenience, there is a case that the process time as the performance of the control system becomes longer than process time assumed by a designer and the like. In this case, the designer, the administrator of the control system, and the like have to analyze the cause and take a measure. As a measure, for example, there is a case that the speed of the control process of a controller has to be increased or a case that the response performance of the database system has to be improved.

"Therefore, also in the case where an inconvenience such as a delay occurs in a process of a control system including a controller and a database system, a technique for facilitating analysis of the cause of the inconvenience is needed."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A controller according to an aspect of the present invention includes: a communication interface configured to be connected to a database system; an instruction executing unit configured to execute a user program for controlling a control object; and an access processing unit, at the time of executing the user program including an access instruction to access the database system by the instruction executing unit, configured to control an access to the database system via the communication interface, wherein the access processing unit includes: a statement transmitting unit configured to generate a statement according to the access instruction and transmit the generated statement to the database system; and an acquiring unit configured to store into a memory information indicative of time since transmission of the generated statement to the database system until reception of a response from the database system.

"Preferably, the acquiring unit starts measurement of response time by transmitting the generated statement to the database system and stores into the memory the information indicative of a result of the measurement of the response time since transmission of the statement to the database system until reception of a response from the database system.

"Preferably, the acquiring unit records transmission time at which the generated statement is transmitted to the database system, records reception time at which a response from the database system to the statement is received, acquires information indicative of time until a response from the database system is received on the basis of the transmission time and the reception time, and stores the acquired information into the memory.

"Preferably, in the case where a normal response is received from the database system after the statement is transmitted to the database system, the acquiring unit stores the response time into the memory.

"Preferably, the instruction executing unit executes a user program including a status acquisition instruction for acquiring information indicative of time until a response from the database system is received, and the access processing unit sends the information stored in the memory to the user program in response to the status acquisition instruction.

"Preferably, the controller further includes an information processing apparatus connected to the controller; and an input/output unit configured to transmit and receive data, wherein the acquiring unit acquires information indicative of time until the response is received in association with time information each time the statement is transmitted to the database system, and the input/output unit transmits to the information processing apparatus the time information and the information indicative of time until the response is received, in association with each other.

"An information processing apparatus according to an aspect of the present invention is connected to a controller, wherein the controller is connected to a database system and includes: a statement transmitting unit configured to, at the time of executing a user program including an access instruction for accessing the database system, generate a statement according to the access instruction, and transmit the generated statement to the database system; and an acquiring unit configured to store into a memory time information indicative of time since the transmission of the generated statement to the database system by the statement transmitting unit until reception of a response from the database system, and the information processing apparatus includes: a reception processing unit configured to receive the time information stored in the memory by the acquiring unit from the controller; and a display processing unit configured to display the time information received by the reception processing unit on a monitor.

"Preferably, each time the statement is transmitted to the database system, the acquiring unit of the controller stores into the memory information indicative of time until the response is received, in association with time information, the reception processing unit of the information processing apparatus receives from the controller information indicative of time until the response associated with the time information is received, and the display processing unit displays the received time information in association with the time information.

"A program according to an aspect of the present invention is configured to control operation of a controller, wherein the controller includes a communication interface configured to access a database system, a processor, and a memory, and the program causes the processor to execute: a step of executing a user program to control a control object; a step of, at the time of executing the user program including an access instruction to access the database system, generating a statement according to the access instruction and transmitting the generated statement to the database system via the communication interface; a step of storing into the memory information indicative of time since transmission of the generated statement to the database system until reception of a response from the database system; and a step of outputting the stored information to the information processing apparatus connected to the controller.

"A controller according to an aspect of the present invention includes: a communication interface configured to be connected to a database system; a processor; and a memory, wherein the processor executes a user program to control a control object, at the time of executing an access instruction to access the database system that is included in the user program, generates a statement according to the access instruction, transmits the generated statement to the database system via the communication interface, and stores into the memory information indicative of time until reception of a response from the database system since the transmission.

"According to the present invention, debugging of a program and checking of soundness can be performed efficiently. For example, even in the case where an inconvenience such as a delay occurs in a process of a control system including a controller and a database system, analysis of the cause can be easily performed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating the configuration of a control system according to an embodiment;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a hardware configuration of a main part of a PLC according to the embodiment;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating a software configuration of the PLC according to the embodiment;

"FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram illustrating a hardware configuration of a support device used by being connected to the PLC according to the embodiment;

"FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram for explaining the outline of a log output function provided by the control system according to the embodiment;

"FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating an operation log;

"FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating the procedure in the PLC in the embodiment and the procedure of a database device;

"FIG. 8 is a diagram illustrating the procedure taken when an instruction timeout occurs and the procedure of the database device;

"FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating the procedure of the PLC in a modification and the procedure of the database device;

"FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating a process to obtain DB response time of the support device;

"FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating an example of a user interface in the case of displaying the operation log including DB response time in the support device; and

"FIG. 12 is a diagram illustrating an example of a user interface provided in the support device in the embodiment."

For more information, see this patent application: OKAMURA, Kotaro; OTA, Masanori; NISHIYAMA, Yoshihide; YAOITA, Koji; NAKASAKI, Masaru. Controller, Information Processing Apparatus, and Recording Medium. Filed November 25, 2013 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=781&p=16&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, OMRON Corporation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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