Digital engineering offers enormous potential for efficiency in mechanical engineering – all the more so, the earlier the right course is set
More flexible, more powerful machines and plants not only require more elaborate control programs, but the development process is also becoming increasingly complex. Digital engineering already provides relief here today, and the positive effects will be even greater in the future. Lenze offers integrated tools and services across the entire lifecycle to simplify processes, reduce costs and minimize the use of time and resources in engineering. The automation specialist will present what is possible in speeches and roundtable discussions at SPS Connect from 24 to 26 November 2020.
Modularization has proven its worth in the development of machines: because tried and tested functional units can be reused and do not have to be redesigned again and again. Machine manufacturers and users benefit over the entire life cycle: from system design, programming, and commissioning to warehousing and spare parts logistics. The most important prerequisite for being able to fall back on information from previous projects is, that this information is available in a standardized form. This is exactly where the digital twin, also known as the administration shell, comes into play. It digitally maps physical components and machines and acts as a collection point for all relevant information.
Modern design tools
With its apps and tools, Lenze is already making this concept applicable and making a significant contribution to consistent data use. One of the central tools for digital engineering is the EASY System Designer, which covers the first engineering steps such as idea, design, and concrete development. With this web-based tool, all persons involved in the planning process from the various disciplines can carry out the complete planning of automation solutions, from the controller to the drive technology, including the necessary application software.
Based on integrated intelligence, the tool checks the developed system solution regarding its feasibility and documents everything necessary for the people involved in the engineering process. This saves valuable planning time, shortens the decision-making process, and reduces the risks in the project.
It is then possible to prepare a PLC program based on the planned system solution. The machine structure, selected hardware components and software modules as well as the application parameters and other relevant project data are available to the programmer in his engineering environment. This enables him to finalize the PLC program more efficiently and to get the machine running much faster.
The information that is generated and collected in the digital twin is available in the following lifecycle phases. Suitable interfaces ensure that third-party tools for simulation and virtual commissioning can also access it. With these options, errors in the development process can be detected and corrected more quickly, and the time required for delivery and commissioning is significantly reduced.
Central mosaic stone of digitalization
The digital twin has arrived in reality and offers real support in industrial automation. With its single point of information approach, standardized data model and data access, it is also the basis for the use of cloud services, which contribute to the optimization of production processes, through to the intelligent evaluation of operating data from the drives, which makes additional sensors unnecessary. And finally, it increases the flexibility of plants in which entire production modules can be easily exchanged via Plug & Produce