Guest contributor: Steffen Winkler, Vice President Sales Factory Automation, Bosch Rexroth
Ever shorter product life cycles and the desire for smaller batch sizes constantly present designers and programmers of production machines and lines with new challenges. To save time and costs, machine builders increasingly rely on model-based engineering, which creates unimagined potential for efficiency enhancement and cost reduction especially during commissioning – thanks to Bosch Rexroth.
The commissioning of machines is a very elaborate process so far. The reason for this is, among others, that programmers can test and optimize their machine program only on the real machine. Thus, 70% of the time that is needed for the commissioning of the control technology is mainly used for time-consuming and therefore cost-intensive optimization measures of the program. This occupies machine space in the assembly hall and causes considerable additional expenses at approaching delivery dates, like additional night shifts.
However, a majority of this optimization tasks can be virtually performed before through model-based engineering. The advantages are obvious: Starting with the first CAD click, all design data could be created in a PLM system. On this basis, a behavior model of the machine is created. Bosch Rexroth therefore provides 3D models and behavior models of its components. In the simulation software, PLC programmers can then test new control functionalities directly at the behavior model of the virtual machine, without the machine must be set up in the assembly hall.
Controller waits for simulation results
Therefore, a simplified machine model additionally had to be used in the simulation environment so far. The computing power of current PC technology is usually insufficient to simulate the complete machine model synchronously to the real-time behavior of the PLC and motion control.
But this deficit is a thing of the past thanks to the Open Core Engineering from Bosch Rexroth. The controller adapts itself to the timing of the simulation and waits for its results before the next motion cycle is executed. Thus, a real behavior of the simulation of the complete machine model is guaranteed.
When the machine is put into operation at the customer’s site, the engineers only need to start it in the ideal case – more extensive optimizations are thus needless. Open Core Engineering supports all established system simulation platforms like MATLAB Simulink and environments on the basis of the open modelling language Modelica, like the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes or SimulationX.
Consistently digital engineering in practice
The example of the American packaging manufacturer WestRock shows how huge the potential savings are in practice. For the model-based development of their machines, the company relies on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes, which also supports Open Core Engineering. Directly in the simulation environment, the engineers can thus check and optimize all machine movements and put the control virtually into operation. Subsequently, the knowledge gained here is directly incorporated in the engineering environment IndraWorks from Rexroth. In this way, WestRock could shorten the entire development time from design to commissioning drastically.