Consistent engineering optimizes product development and manufacture

Overview

Consistent engineering thanks to seamless data transfer  

Consistent engineering thanks to seamless data transfer

  • Products are developed with various engineering tools that are optimized for a variety of tasks. This means that the tools speak their own language, are not compatible with one another, and can only only be connected to one another via a few interfaces.
  • This requires considerable effort during the engineering process to convert the data from one format to another.

Application

Interfaces in just one direction  

Interfaces in just one direction

During the engineering of a control cabinet, the order in which the tools are used is not explicitly specified. First, for example, the circuit diagram may be created with a tool that provides an interface to the product configurators of the electronic components.

The circuit diagram is then used as the basis for producing an assembled terminal strip that must be made available for planning the assembly layout. The assembly layout forms the basis for the wiring concept. Interfaces for engineering sequences of this type already exist, but can only usually be used in one direction. Even minor changes require a considerable amount of work. If there are no interfaces available, the project data has to be converted many times over or even transferred manually. Data can also be lost as it passes through the various engineering tools.

Solution

One data format for all engineering tools  

One data format for all engineering tools

AutomationML is an XML-based exchange format for engineering data that combines other data formats. On the basis of a precise product description, intelligent technical systems can independently identify the manufacturing stations required to manufacture the product.

AutomationML is based on the concept that all engineering tools work with the same files. Every tool only reads and writes in the part relevant to itself. To ensure that all tools have a shared understanding of the aspects described in the files, AutomationML contains so-called role class libraries. All objects in the data exchange format must be assigned to a role class so that the purpose of each object is clear to all engineering tools.

This is where eCl@ss comes in. The international, cross-industry power and product data standard is used to classify and clearly describe products and services. With around 39,000 product classes and 16,000 features, it covers the majority of traded goods and services. The structures required to map the data in the ECAD tools are defined on a system-independent basis.

eCl@ss enables not only CAE-specific product master data but also the cabling information required for the automatic routing of the cables in the control cabinet to be defined, among other things. Device manufacturers therefore no longer need to support various different exchange formats in order to map their data in the target formats preferred by users.

Summary

Consistent engineering is the key to efficient product development. This requires a network of engineering tools that can work together via interfaces and shared data formats and sources. By using and combining standardized formats such as AutomationML and eCl@ss, the result of consistent engineering - the digital product description - can even be used in the manufacturing process.

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