Object

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Objects are static nodes in a model through which items flow
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Planimate Objects

Planimate has a small number of objects but they each have a variety of modes and extended capabilities.


Entry

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Entries introduce new items into a model.

Most Items will be created at an Entry.

The only other Object that can create items is a Splitter.

For full details refer to this page: Entry

Queue

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A Queue is an area where Items can wait.

When a number of items want to access an Object all at the same time, and the Object cannot accept them all at the same time, then the items must compete for access.

In real world systems you will often see queues or line-ups forming to facilitate this competing according to various rules.

In Planimate, the Queue Object provides a place for you the modeller to apply rules to manage competition for access to Objects.

For full details refer to this page: Queue

Delay (MultiServer)

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In simulation, objects that can hold an item and apply a process delay time before releasing the item are known as Servers.

The Planimate Delay object has the ability to delay one or more items at a time.

For full details refer to this page: Delay

Exit

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Items leave a model via an Exit object.

Items that move into an exit will permanently disappear from a model and cannot be recalled.

However Exits can also be used to send Items to other locations, via broadcasting or throwing.

For full details refer to this page: Exit


Portal

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A Portal object appears on the screen like any other object but rather than having a fixed behaviour, it is a link to a sub-system screen.

Every Portal contains one Subsystem screen on which there is always at least one Portal Entry and one Portal Exit. A Portal can be classified as “Logical Only”, as it cannot itself hold items. Only the capacity objects in the subsystem can hold items.

No time passes while an item moves into or out of a Portal. An item entering a portal is 'teleported' to the sub-system screen and appears on that screen at the Portal Entry object, and proceeds along its path. Likewise, any item entering a Portal Exit on a subsystem screen will re-appear on the screen containing the Portal which owns that subsystem, and proceed along the path.


For full details refer to this page: Portal


PickUp

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The PickUp enables a number of items to be "picked up" by a Carrier Item and transported to another location, usually for delivery.

For full details refer to this page: PickUp


DropOff

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The Drop-off Object enables Carrier Items to release one or more of the items they are carrying.

For full details refer to this page: DropOff


Dispatcher (part of Queue)

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The Dispatcher is a "waiting station" for Items, and can have multiple outgoing paths.

It is used in situations where an Item may be called upon by other objects, or in model logic in no particular order eg. a repairman servicing a group of machines, or a part which may be required by a range of assembly stations.

Like a Queue, a Dispatcher has a maximum capacity, screen length and orientation.

For full details refer to this page: Dispatcher


Code (Change)

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With a Change Object you can make changes in your model whenever an item passes through it during a model run.

You use a Change Object to dynamically influence your model’s behaviour.

Change Objects enable you to construct wide-ranging and complex system control and management structures in your model, and more sophisticated or detailed animation.

For full details refer to this page: Code


Switch

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Switches enable items to dynamically select from a number of possible paths.

They are typically used in situations where items select shortest queues (ie. people queuing for ATM machines) or where an item can be processed by a number of servers.

The switch will choose from any paths along which the item can proceed (ie. flows which are not blocked). If none are available, the item will become blocked until one becomes available.

Different path selection rules are available through various switch 'Modes'.

For full details refer to this page: Switch

Splitter

Splitter Palette Icon.jpg

A Splitter object takes a single incoming item and splits it into a number of outgoing items.

An incoming item triggers a splitting operation. The items produced can be of many different classes, each proceeding from the splitter on different paths. If any leaving item becomes blocked, no other items will be able to leave the splitter and it will become blocked.

The list of items produced when one incoming item enters is called a Split Schedule. You specify a separate Split Schedule for each incoming item class.

For full details refer to this page: Splitter


Guide

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Guide objects do not directly affect a simulation but are useful in adjusting the paths of items to improve their movement on screen.

For full details refer to this page: Guide


Spatial Link

Splink Palette Icon.jpg

Spatial links are objects that form a connection between portals.

Spatial Link Objects can be classified as “Logical with Capacity and Process Delay”, as they can hold items, and time passes as they process items.


For full details refer to this page: Spatial Link


Pipe

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Pipes are a type of "spatial" connection which can be formed between portals to model movement of bulk product.

Pipes are a type of "spatial" connection which can be formed between portals. Pipes are different to the other spatial connection objects (Spatial Link and Track Objects) because they do not carry items, but instead carry numeric values between attributes.

They complement track and spatial links for items by providing links for attribute value flow. This flow can represent any bulk solid or liquid material or commodity that is moved around without the need to make detailed distinctions between one unit or “packet” of the material and another.

For full details refer to this page: Pipe


Track

Track Palette Icon.jpg

Planimate® supports modelling of railway type networks with a set of related features collectively known as “Tracks”.

Tracks modelling capabilities are considered to be advanced uses of Planimate®, and require a good grounding in and familiarity with the concepts underlying the Planimate® Platform as a whole.

A “Track” is a Planimate® object, along which items can travel, taking a designated period of time.

Tracks are placed between Portal Objects (representing depots, terminals, crossing loops and junctions). Tracks connect together the subsystems of these Portals. An Item can leave a subsystem, travel across a Track object and some time later arrive in the subsystem at the other end.

Similar to Spatial Links, Tracks offer an opportunity to display and animate transport networks, where Portals represent nodes in these networks. However, Track Objects differ to Spatial Links because they impose limits on how items on them (trains) move.


For full details refer to this page: Track


Conveyor

Conveyors move items over a distance at a given speed, with the length of each item considered to avoid them overlapping.


Concepts

To start using a conveyor you need to consider the length of the conveyor (set in whatever units you like, typically metres) and its speed (units/second). The length is fixed during a run, speed can be changed as with most other conveyor properties. These are set using attribute references.

In addition, the length of items is important for a Conveyor. This can be set for an item class in the Item Class edit context menu, or per item in code using s.ItemLength.

It is important to remember that Planimate models are a schematic and with the Conveyor in particular, you need to manage the layout and icon sizes / scaling carefully if you need to display the conveyor and items to scale.

Pack vs Stop

There are two alternative Conveyor behaviours when an item ready to leave is blocked. By default, items are ‘packed’ together when the front item is blocked. Adding the ‘Stop On Block’ option changes it so all items are stopped in their current position until the front item can leave the Conveyor.

Minimum Distance

Conveyors enable items to enter only when there is sufficient distance to the previous item. The item’s length property, s.ItemLength is used. A conveyor can be configured to include an additional "minimum distance" which sets the minimum space between the "end" of an item and the "front" of the next one.

This minimum distance can be dynamically changed, leading to some interesting behaviours.

  • Reducing the minimum distance while the front item is blocked causes the items to pack closer together (like cars at a traffic light).
  • Increasing the minimum distance whilst items are moving in the conveyor will cause items that are too close to items in front of them to stop moving until enough space opens up. Note that items never move backwards to create space.

Interlocking

Conveyors can be linked so if one is stopped for any reason, they are all stopped until conditions change that enable them all to move. You interlock conveyors by setting their "Interlock Controller" attribute to the same data reference. A portal attribute is recommended for this.

You can click a conveyor's icon in paused mode for a report of its contents and why it is stopped, reasons include

* Item blocked and its a stop on block conveyor
* The speed has been set to zero
* The control value references an attribute/cell that has become zero
* Interlock from another conveyor

Slide On vs Drop On

By default an item enters a conveyor when there is sufficient space to accommodate the entire item, as if a chute above the conveyor drops items onto it.

The Slide On option changes this so items enter the conveyor from its end, as if they are on a shelf and gradually sliding onto the moving conveyor. Combined with the Slide Off option, these options may be useful where the length of the conveyor is short, on par with the length of the items.

Slide On vs. Drop On is an important distinction when the conveyor is short relative to the items as it has a bigger impact on the running time an item spends on the conveyor vs. being blocked waiting for enough space on the conveyor.

On a conveyor moving at a constant speed, the total time an item spends on the conveyor (in seconds) is:

Slide On Conveyor: ConveyorLength * Speed
Drop On Conveyor: (ConveyorLength - ItemLength) * Speed

Note that SlideOn conveyors do not accept new items when stopped whereas a drop on conveyor will, given there is sufficient space.

Slide Off vs Pick Up

By default an item exits a Conveyor when its front reaches the end, as if the item was an item was picked up off the conveyor. Normally this has no impact on other items.

A SlideOff option is available to change the behaviour so once the item exits the conveyor, a "placeholder" continues to hold the space the item occupied until the complete length of the item traverses the conveyor.

Unlike SlideOn, the SlideOff option's behaviour is very subtle and only has impact when:

  • StopOnBlock is not being used
  • The Conveyor gets blocked and that space the leaving item left behind is important
  • The conveyor is very short and the front item directly impacts the next item to enter the conveyor.

Generally when an item traverses multiple conveyors you only need to consider the merit of using SlideOn.

Properties

Conveyor ID

This sets a value that is available to the other properties as s.ConveyorID, making it easier to use a table to define properties for a set of conveyors.

This value should be a constant. It is not available for Interlock Controller.

Length

Sets the length of the conveytor in units (typically metres). This is read at run start only.

Speed

Sets the conveyor's speed in units per second. A value of zero stops the conveyor. No negative values allowed.

Minimum Distance

Sets extra spacing between items. Items are spaced by their length plus this value, default 0.

Options

This value can either be edited directly using the options select dialog or specified as a bit combination from the _conveyor_options label list. Options are: StopOnBlock, SlideOn, SlideOff and HidePlaceholder which hides the placeholder icon used when SlideOff is selected.

Control

IF this reference is set to a non-constant attribute or cell, when that data is set to zero it stops the conveyor.

Interlock Controller

When multiple conveyors refer to the same attribute or table cell, they will stop as a group if one conveyor is stopped for any reason. Do not modify or initialise this value.

For full details refer to this page: Conveyor


Object Articles


Object Frequently Asked Questions