ST 007-11 Lohr, 2011-10-12

10 Shortcuts to speed up Engineering Processes

Dr. Haak

Dr. Steffen Haack, Senior Vice President Sales, Industry Sector Factory Automation of Bosch Rexroth AG

Driving new concepts to market maturity at a quicker pace using the existing team: This is the challenge faced by increasing numbers of machine manufacturers. The order books are full, but around the world there is a shortage of skilled labor for designing, programming and commissioning machines. New software tools and system approaches in automation reduce the throughput times in project design and condense the work processes within engineering.

Shortcuts in working with office software applications have long been part of everyday use. Shortcuts, templates, online help, automated error displays and the ability to move content to different applications are part and parcel of office software applications. Machine manufacturers are also insisting now on similar ways to make processes easier–across the entire engineering process. Therefore, over the last two years, Rexroth has transferred this approach to its mechanical engineering solutions. While “engineering” and “shortcuts” are generally not considered to go hand in hand, the use of intelligent tools to streamline project development and implementation tasks can offer a new kind of “shortcut.” Thanks to these innovative tools for 'shortcut-assisted engineering', machine manufacturers and system integrators can achieve their goals much more quickly:

Shortcut 1: standardized engineering environment for all tasks

A standardized engineering environment for all tasks from project planning and programming, to commissioning and diagnostics, creates the transparency required and simplifies the engineering process. Data is recorded just once and is available to all software tools, without the need for entering it multiple times. As in office software applications, content is easy to add to other applications with the click of a mouse. This shortcut reduces the need for training and keeps sources of error to a minimum.

Shortcut 2: using templates for modular software

A program framework provides a modular software structure, dividing projects into several modules with a clear overview. Thanks to this modular design, tasks can be clearly defined and quickly processed.

Shortcut 3: focusing capacities with engineering team

Regardless of location, always work in parallel and be up to date: version control systems store all amendments made with a time and the user ID. This system creates transparency and guarantees that complex projects have a consistently high quality level.

Shortcut 4: object-oriented programming

Widespread object-oriented programming in high-level language is also finding its way into automation. Modern program frameworks enable the encapsulated insertion of items, without the need for high-level language.

Shortcut 5: creating graphical cam disks

Software tools allow graphical cam disks to be created; the tools then automatically generate the relevant machine code from these cams. And there's more: Intelligent functional modules automatically adapt all other parameters when one parameter is modified.

Shortcut 6: parameterizing instead of programming

Default functionalities reduce the need for programming because even complex movements need only to be parameterized.

Shortcut 7: using standards

Internationally valid standards, such as IEC 61131-3 or sercos, reduce the need for training and open up the option of combining components and software modules from different manufacturers and still meet the requirements of the application.

Shortcut 8: software wizards

These wizards do the tasks that were previously performed manually, thereby accelerating the engineering process and eliminating sources of error. One example is intelligent start-up wizards that access mechanical parameters of the attached linear system when a serial number is entered. This wizard reduces the time spent on this task by up to 90%.

Shortcut 9: achieving optimum dynamism quicker

Optimization during the commissioning phase is often particularly timeconsuming. Modern software tools support the technician during machine commissioning by optimizing the movement guidance. The result is increased dynamism and reduced energy consumption, without the need for lengthy tests.

Shortcut 10: detecting wear without the need for sensors

Sophisticated software tools can detect upcoming wear from the drive data already recorded. The tools do not require any additional sensors and will send warnings to ensure that the machine does not come to a stop. These tools considerably reduce the amount of service work required.

Modern engineering tools assist machine manufacturers in completing more projects at a quicker pace, but still using the existing personnel resources. "On the Production floor, automation solutions have been continuously increasing productivity for years. Today's software solutions help to further boost efficiency across the engineering process," reiterates Dr. Steffen Haack, Senior Vice President of Sales, Factory Automation Industry Sector of Bosch Rexroth AG.

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