A complex warehouse management system consists of 3 levels. The top is the warehouse management level, which is responsible for the material revenue. It records all parameters of the stored material – position, volume, size, etc. – accepts requests for stock but only performs database operations and has no connection to any hardware. On the other hand, it has a direct relationship with a top-level enterprise management system (eg SAP), which is structurally above the warehouse management system. The lowest level is the material handling equipment (conveyors, stackers, automated vehicles, patrol stalls, etc.).
These devices can have various communication interfaces (the most commonly used standard industrial protocols). The middle level that connects the warehouse management system to the material handling devices is MFCM (Material Flow Control Management). It receives transport commands from the upper interface and conducts transport – managing the lower level devices and operations (over various communication channels such as OPC, ODBC, TCP / IP, serial port) and giving feedback to the upper interface (WMS) from the end of the shipment. MFCM is a server application running on Windows 2000 / XP Professional or later Microsoft operating systems.
The MFCM also provides a user interface that displays the current state of the conveyor system in a clear axonometric spatial diagram (current state, position, sensors of the conveyor devices) ; gives the user the opportunity to intervene; displays system error messages that can be acknowledged by the operator. Errors and transport events are recorded and archived in a database using ODBC.
Events can be queried and displayed with SQL commands.The display system runs by default on a standalone PC with the server application, but can be expanded to allow multiple display clients to connect to it and be used in other languages besides Hungarian and English. The HMI module is warehouse dependent. Each warehouse has its own layout and delivery system. The visualization reflects these features and shows the structure of the warehouse.