Partner nieuws: The Advanced Typical Manager for Engineering Base

21-10-2015

Your advantages at a glance:

  • Simple configuration, even without detailed knowledge of electrical engineering
  • Optimal handling of variants and options
  • Safeguarding expertise
  • Structuring support
  • Functional orientation provides clarity
  • Number of typicals significantly reduced
  • Significant saving of time in design process
  • Better quality of documentation 
  • Less time spent on consultation
  • Fewer errors
  • Better overview of requirement implementation
  • Freedom to choose method: entire design space or additive approach

Challenge


The designing of large plants presents an enormous challenge. Thousands of devices are connected to each other and are designed to implement the requirements of certain services which this plant has to provide. Copying previous entire projects and adapting them to individual customer requirements is still a widespread practice. However, all errors that were eliminated during commissioning are copied again as a result.

Thus configuring is THE buzzword for efficiency in planning and designing machines and plants. How should the necessary modules look, however, and what level of detail do they possess, that is, to what extent is the "granulation" of the templates possible? The greater a module can be fragmented, the more it becomes, thus making its maintenance and overview more difficult. More comprehensive modules often lack the necessary flexibility and may need to be continually adapted. The concept of configuring is basically a decisive step towards more efficiency. The rapidly growing complexity in these areas requires methods which are intelligent, but which are also easy to use.

Solution

Tested standard modules combined with an easy-to-use option and variant management can significantly reduce project lead times and increase the quality of plants at the same time. They also safeguard important expertise, which would otherwise remain only in the minds of professionals.

With its Advanced Typical Manager, AUCOTEC has created a tool for its database-driven software Engineering Base (EB) that optimises the indisputable savings potential in configuring with simple and clear handling of variants and options. It sets standards that permit extraordinary flexibility and facilitate an overview at the same time. Prefabricated components are only designed once, usually by the development team, and are then kept in the EB database for multiple reuse. Changes have only to be entered there once, and the next user can be sure of obtaining the latest version. Thus the design department has a lot more capacity for the rapid processing of actual projects.

 

Function-oriented modules instead of thousands of sheets


AUCOTEC uses the requirements of a plant as a structuring aid. EB relies on the functional view where such requirements as gripping, transporting and heating are summarised in one module. This may be, for example, a gripper including the control, mechanical and hydraulic engineering and software programming, but a module can also represent smaller units such as circuit components.


A pump or a PLC also has a function of course, but it is unsuitable as an organising factor. If looked at in the correct light, the functional view enormously facilitates rapid implementation of the requirements of the plant in accordance with the order. Functions group modules comprehensively. They can be actually ordered and their distribution can be easily and clearly traced via management and from all users to the customer. Thus clients and contractors speak the same language from the outset on the subject of the order. This saves a lot of time, effort spent on corrections, and eliminates misunderstandings.


Updating effort minimised


With a function orientation where the modules do not consist of individual devices, the configuration is based on a level higher than the sheet level. A function is documented in a quality-tested template in EB. This typical contains the associated sheets, devices, cables and wires which are handled "as a whole" in their functional context. This significantly minimises the number of typicals and saves you from copying a project consisting of thousands of independent single sheets which cannot be continuously maintained.

In addition, the unavoidable changes which arise in the development process can be incorporated at any time without having to undo the customisations that were already created up to that point. Thus the entire project no longer has to be regenerated in the event of subsequent changes or has to be created "manually" as of the change request. This is enabled by EB's "single source of truth", that is, the data model stored in the system with all resulting information, in which the current plant data and typicals are always available to everyone involved.


Mastering innumerable variants and options


Convenient variant and option management is essential in order to be able to configure really efficiently, and not too roughly or in too much detail. Options, thus possible extensions of a standard module, can be stored separately as circuit components in EB using the Advanced Typical Manager, for example, a backward circuit for a conveyor belt or a frequency converter for variable speeds. The otherwise necessary variants of sheets with all possible combinations of options for one motor are thus a thing of the past. In the event of changes, you swap only the optional circuit component instead of "drowning" in variants and options.


Everything under control


Variants, thus the possible combinations of options, can be stored as separate templates in EB's database. This allows you to avoid the still common, but impractical defining of complicated sets of rules. In automotive engineering, for example, it makes no sense to maintain the "sunroof" option for the "convertible" variant. Instead of explaining something like this extensively and hoping for compliance with the rules, there are simply no such variants in EB. Variants can also result from different dimensions or manufacturers and are also available as quality-tested modules in EB. All logic is also stored in the respective typicals in the Advanced Typical Manager.


Freedom to choose method


Users are free to choose their own method because the module allows both the creation of a basic maximum project according to the entire design space concept, and the additive approach where a plant is in principle unlimited and can be gradually extended and become more detailed. The database-driven EB and its Typical Manager also enable combinations of these methods. The type and structuring level of the typicals can be freely selected, depending on the complexity of the project. Whether "heating" or "measuring" is involved, the difference is only in its complexity, and EB gives the user free rein.


Benefits


Regardless of the method used, the Manager significantly reduces the number of typicals. AUCOTEC customers who already use it say they are reduced by at least one-third. Control costs and errors are also minimised as a result, leading to an improvement in the quality of documents. If all functions which can be ordered are preconfigured in the EB database, the Advanced Typical Manager will provide yet another level of configuration: based on the functions requested by the customer, which can be implemented in an optimally traceable manner, it enables the documentation of the entire plant virtually at the press of a button - without detailed knowledge of electrical engineering.

 

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