Redundancy, in-depth diagnostic tools, maintenance, high-quality components and best practices are major factors required to achieve system reliability.
Robotic Parking Systems’ machines are assembled using the best components in the world. However, even the best parts can break. Think of your car, your computer, your washing machine – you get the picture!
The only way to overcome this inherent possibility of failure is the “one out of two axiom.” This means strict application of true redundancy throughout an entire system. This does not mean merely installing two motors in each machine. It also means providing two copies of the same machine, as well as redundancy of components within a single machine whenever possible.
The Robotic Parking System provides true redundancy. All major components have at least one backup system and in some cases as many as four.
This translates to a high level of reliability and ensures uninterrupted operation. No single failure will ever result in the complete inoperability of the Robotic Parking System. If a machine needs maintenance or repairs, there is always a backup machine to keep the cars moving in and out of the garage.
Components and Automation
The Robotic Parking System utilizes off-the-shelf, high-quality components with L10 lifetimes of 40,000 hours or above. Electro-mechanical components are used to avoid hydraulic or pneumatic equipment that involves high maintenance.
We use the powerful and proven General Electric (GE) automation platform which has been judged by experts to be of the absolute highest quality. Some GE automation software is now part of Emerson, a global leader in industrial automation. We also use top performers in the servo industry such as Bosch-Rexroth, Control Technique (NIDEC) and Fanuc for motion solutions
Proven Software and Fault Tolerant Servers Guarantee Continuous Availability
Robotic Parking fully automated systems use ultra-high end fault tolerant Stratus ftServer® which guarantee continuous availability (99.999% worldwide uptime). These systems are often used by credit card processing companies and banks. Every piece of data (including garage configuration, location and identity of every car, etc.) and every command is stored in real-time on both servers. If one server fails, the second redundant server automatically takes over with no interruption of service. The Automated Uptime Layer from Stratus offers patented lockstep processing and ensures no transactions are lost. Multi-path I/O failover prevents data corruption or data loss and manages the replicated ftServer® components as a single system. This dramatically reduces complexity and operator error. Working in concert with lockstep technology, the Automated Uptime Layer prevents many errors (including transient errors) from escalating
into outages. Even in-memory data is constantly protected and maintained. Other issues are captured, analyzed and reported
to Stratus. This allows support personnel to take a proactive approach to correcting software problems before they recur.
The automation software which runs the garage is powered by GE Digital Cimplicity® HMI/SCADA with Tracker functionality which is used worldwide in processes with high complexity and numbers of users. Cimplicity® software runs automobile assembly lines such as GM and Ford as well as container handling in seaports around the world where thousands of movements are performed on a 24/7 basis.
Robotic Parking Systems is the only automated parking company globally whose high-level functional software design specifications were developed by General Electric Intelligent Platform Development Center in Albany, NY.
These factors ensure one of the highest standards of operations in automated parking garages worldwide.
Intelligent Diagnostics and Maintenance
Robotic Parking System’s HMI (Human Machine Interface) screens are sophisticated and designed to provide full details of machines with real time data. Every machine has its own HMI screen. The software records every rotation or linear motion of any wheel, bearing, gearbox and motor. The well-defined, intelligent diagnostic tools help predict any premature failure and reduces downtime. Needed maintenance is immediately reported online to the service department.
The software provides up to five different alarm messaging classifications. Messages are sent to the computer system on site and can also be automatically forwarded to technicians’ cell phones, etc. Up to three locations can be notified simultaneously.
Remote access and diagnostic tools allow the Robotic Parking System to be easily monitored and maintained from anywhere in the world.
Additional Reliability Measures
In addition to redundancy, diagnostics and maintenance, other reliability and backup measures are implemented in Robotic Parking Systems:
- Machinery is designed to operate in varying temperatures and levels of humidity, dust and other climate conditions prevalent in a region.
- An emergency backup generator avoids shutdowns in case of power outages.
- Backup procedures and user manuals with detailed maintenance instructions are provided.
- Integration of third-party products used to solve specific tasks with small interfaces (i.e., easily changeable / extendable), and best practice compliance.
Technology Audit Confirms Reliability
A third-party expert technology auditor (as part of a due diligence investigation on the Robotic Parking System) had this to say about the system’s reliability:
- Operational safety two-fold on each logical level: software and hardware.
- Full redundancy by using at least two identical machines per geographical area.
- Hot swappable redundant servers supported by UPS and generators.
- Several manual operation stations available for different machines.
- Flexible definition of Entry / Exit Terminals indicated by traffic light that can be changed on the fly.
- Service plan based on threshold values for each component.
- System is very solidly designed with lots of redundancy.
- Highly redundant, cleverly designed system with good traceability.
- Best practice compliance.
- Mature, extensible system: over 26 years of experience with system design and operations.