Virtual commissioning as a gamechanger in mechanical and plant engineering

In many companies, the engineering process follows a classic workflow: The development process of machines and plants is partly still sequentially structured. The electrical and mechanical design are sometimes carried out in parallel, and for the creation of the necessary control software for the PLCs and robots, the preconstruction is usually used as an environment for finalizing and securing the control technology.

Virtuelle Inbetriebnahme als Gamechanger im Maschinen- und Anlagenbau

Influence of delivery delays on project progress

Globalized economic cycles lead to companies relocating many production steps to other countries, which means that delays have currently become the norm - due to global supply chains. Often, several companies or suppliers are involved in the manufacturing process of a product, which can intensify this issue. In a survey conducted this year by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), 84% of German industrial companies reported medium to significant delivery problems (source: DIHK, www.dihk.de/de/aktuelles-und-presse/aktuelle-informationen/lieferketten-probleme-haben-sich-weiter-verschaerft-67866, June 28, 2022).

Closely linked to the challenges of globalized processes is the human factor: Particularly in mechanical and plant engineering, every delay in the project has a negative impact on the time available to the programmers, and the delivery difficulties mentioned above make a preliminary setup impossible in some cases. This is a difficult situation for the machine and plant manufacturer to cope with: Due to increasingly complex plants, especially the programmers for control systems, controllers, etc. find themselves in an extremely stressful situation - the pressure to meet the start of production during real commissioning is continuously increasing. In addition, the resources required to correct an error that is discovered late are many times higher.

Minimizing the effects of globalized supply chains on workflow through virtual commissioning

The solution to this problem is called "virtual commissioning": By deploying and using a digital twin - already in an early project phase such as conceptual design - the model becomes more and more detailed with increasing engineering data. Through virtual commissioning, the software areas involved can already be verified to a very high degree and the behavior of the real plant can be verified more quickly. The time required for pre-construction is thus considerably reduced and both real and virtual hardware as well as unavailable materials, components as well as plant parts are compensated for by the simulation. The digital twin therefore acts as a "gamechanger" for mechanical and plant engineering: Acceptance processes, for example, can be carried out completely on the model - without the physical construction of the plant. A mix of real and virtual setups is also possible - as is a realistic transfer of the virtual model into a virtual reality environment, for example, in order to consider the positioning of operating panels from an ergonomic point of view.

These advantages are a number of the reasons for introducing simulation software. With the simulation software fe.screen-sim, F.EE provides an adequate tool, which has proven itself in practical use for many years and fulfills all requirements of a professional tool for virtual commissioning. Initially developed for use at F.EE, fe.screen-sim is now used by many well-known clients - and can thus be expanded in a practice-oriented manner as well as adapted to individual customer requirements.

F.EE supports companies as a service provider and software supplier in the modeling of machines and plants both with its own resources and by means of a partner network of experienced specialists.

Your personal contact person – for more clearness

You are a project or department manager and are faced with the question of how to set up a digital twin for your project? We would be happy to talk to you personally about your requirements, the time frame, the possible project approach and give you an initial cost estimate.

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Werner Pospiech, Sales fe.screen