Posts Tagged ‘virtual commissioning’
At the Digital Manufacturing Symposium which was co-located with the IMTS in Chicago, Marcelo Gracci from ThyssenKrupp discussed their use of robotics simulation and the concept of virtual commissioning. ThyssenKrupp does the manufacturing engineering and build of complex automated production cells, like they are used in the automotive industry.
Marcelo highlighted the results of a pilot project they made with a major automotive OEM in Brazil and how it transitioned to production. ThyssenKrupp Brazil started a year ago with with this project. After the successful first project ThyssenKrupp extend the project scope and included the PLC (programmable logical controller) in the simulation. This is known as Virtual Commissioning.
The issues he faces during the engineering process are multiple ones: Is the equipment positioned correctly? Does the cell works as planned? Does the devices operate as designed?
The first one is from the introduction video for the Virtual Commissioning showcase which we run every hour. Take a closer look and you will realize the move from virtual too real in the picture.
The next one is from the workflow we showed at the main Siemens booth. NX is used to design the part. In our case we use a die for a press line. To define the machining strategy for this die we use NX CAM. In order to validate the machining strategy a 3D-Model of the GROB-machine, the 3D CAD part, the NC code and the virtual SINUMERIK controller are combined into a virtual machine. The validated NC Code is transferred to the machine, equipped with the SINUMERIK 840 d controller.
As the die is ready, it will be simulated inside of a virtual press line. The Press Line Simulation solution from Tecnomatix together with the SIMOTION controller allows for shortened try-out time, reduction of tooling design costs and increased stroke rate – finally optimizing the press line.
This picture shows visitors and customers discussing the solutions from Siemens PLM Software.
There are several other înteresting pictures available on Flickr.
You may have read our latest press release about the product and production lifecycle initiative. At the press conference at Hannover Fair, Helmuth Ludwig talked about this as well. He highlighted in his presentation two important topics: the extended offering of Siemens Industry Automation in regards to the industry software market and an update about the integrated product and production lifecycle. I would like to share Helmuth’s presentation with you.
The major projects for the integrated product and production lifecycle are:
- Virtual Commissioning
- Virtual Machine
- PLM and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
- PLM and Plant Design (Comos)
Especially the first project “Virtual Commissioning” was showcased live every hour. You might realize that the guy on the right and myself look quite similar
Take a look at the presentation for more insights.
If you have any comments or interests in one of the projects, just let me know. And stay tuned, I’m collecting pictures from the fair and will publish them soon.
Did you ever think about how a whole manufacturing line is set up on the shop floor? And wonder why it is running smoothly and at an optimum in regards to throughput, reliability, flexibility, safety and sustainability. Well, I’m not sure if all manufacturing lines run at an optimum, but I’m always fascinated seeing the complex system of a whole manufacturing line working smoothly.
Finding an optimum is a difficult task for manufacturing engineers. How can this be done?
Let’s take a system-oriented approach. As with any complex system, it’s divided into separate components, e.g. divide the overall line into zones, cells or workstations. In addition, sub-divide a cell into mechanical, electrical and automation components. Each of these sub-systems will then be optimized independently.
There is a downside to this approach. Sometimes the interconnection between the different components gets lost, which leads to issues during set-up and ramp-up of the physical manufacturing line. Here a virtual commissioning solution can help. Virtual commissioning basically allows testing and optimizing manufacturing lines upfront to the start of production. This is done in a virtual environment taking into account the mechanical and automation equipment like robots and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controller) as well as conveyors, fixtures, light barriers, etc.
There are two aspects of virtual commissioning. One is to ensure that automation equipment like robots work smoothly together with the control components like PLCs. This can be validated using Tecnomatix Process Simulate Commissioning in a 3D environment (I talked about this solution in one of my previous posts). The second aspect is to ensure the overall material flow and operation which can be simulated with Tecnomatix Plant Simulation.
Ralf Tobel, Director R&D, talks about the need to simulate PLCs and the differences between the two aspects of virtual commissioning.
Another very interesting session about Tecnomatix driving Planning and Production Productivity. Uli Rossgoderer talks about two examples about how Tecnomatix drives productivity. The first one is about the new smart assembly capability which automatically defines a valid and collision free assembly sequence of a complex product.
The second example is about our virtual commissioning solution which is part of the Robotics and Automation Planning solution. I wrote in one of my previous blog posts about virtual commissioning and explained the principles of this concept.
The other night I met up with a past colleague who was laid off a few months ago. I was impressed with how she retooled quickly into a freelance role. Yesterday I heard a similar retooling story but by a company not just one individual.
AMT – Applied Manufacturing Technologies had been an engineering services company for 20 years. Nearly all their business had been in the automotive industry. But over the past year they’ve retooled to diversify. Check out my interview with Jordan Merhib, director of business development for AMT.
Today they have 20 percent of their business from other industries. Their 150 engineers deliver services in seven core technologies:
- simulation & digital manufacturing
- mechanical design
- controls design
- software and programming
- vision engineering
- paint processing
- training & technical publications
In their history, Jordan noted they have probably done 20,000 different automation projects. They still do a lot of automation but they also are taking that to the next level with areas like virtual commissioning.
But what about the manufacturing productivity? Let’s have a look at automated production lines. They are e.g. used in the automotive industry. A good overview provides this movie from KUKA, a robot manufacturer. If you jump to 0:30 you will see a whole body-in-white line working.
Today all these robots are programmed and validated in a virtual environment. In addition to the robots, system level control is required. This is accomplished with Programmable Logic Controllers or short PLC. They handle the decision making for the line such as material flow or control the fixtures and grippers which are locating the parts in place during the welding process. These PLCs are generally programmed with applications provided by the PLC vendor. As you could see in the video, the robots and PLCs need to communicate. E.g. the robots start welding only after the grippers are closed and the grippers open again only after the robots finished the welding.
Robots and PLCs are programmed independent from each other under different engineering groups which are a major issue which automotive companies face today. The communication between robots and PLCs is validated at the shop floor using the real hardware. This is a critical situation as it is just a few weeks before the start of production and arising issues can put this date at risk and drive cost into the process. One solution is to simulate and optimize robots and PLCs in a virtual environment before the physical build of the production system. We call this Virtual Commissioning.
Several companies talked about the usage of digital manufacturing tools at the Digital Factory conference in Munich (Germany) which took place end of June. The engineering company EBZ SysTec talked about the validation and optimization of automated production lines using the Tecnomatix Virtual Commissioning solution. Stefan Linner, Vice President Tecnomatix Marketing, talks about the conference and especially about EBZ SysTec.
For more information about the use of Virtual Commissioning at EBZ SysTec just visit the Tecnomatix 9 homepage and go to the Tecnomatix 9 Resource Center at the bottom of the page.