When you start planning a new machine or plant, the design begins directly with the first drawings. A little later in the process the Electronics Division adds switching models, cables and other connections in the form of CAD data. Right at the end come the plans for the automation and it is at this moment that the team is very often faced with the problem that the various plans don't fit together and cannot be implemented as such. The necessary new or re-planning costs a lot of time and money and significantly delays the completion of the planned plant. This dilemma could be prevented very easily - namely when simulation software such as industrialPhysics is used as a fixed component of the development process at the start of the planning!

Simulation – the link for the new approach

The 3D simulation software for mechatronic simulation is the middleware at the centre and functions as a cross-departmental platform on which the current state of development can be verified at any time and the feasibility checked with other departments. The mechanical, electrical and software departments access the same model at the same time and each of them process it in their own development environment before jointly developing it further and testing it immediately in interaction by means of the simulation. The current state of the mechatronic development is thus subjected to interdisciplinary testing even in the earliest phases of the process. Through this continuous virtual commissioning – also called Continuous Commissioning – the expenditure can ultimately be reduced, in terms of both time and cost, in comparison with the usual final commissioning, because the constant comparison of the work status allows the feasibility and achievability of the goals to be checked at any time.

Figuratively speaking, the classic V-model is broken down into numerous micro-V-models in Continuous Commissioning. Hence, a collection of several V-models is created, which are independent of one another and can be processed in parallel by an organisation. The sequential procedure according to the V-model for the development of a machine is thus split into a swarm of maximum concurrent running micro-V-model processes. After each iteration there is one consistent state of development and only this is saved in the PDM system. In this way, important interim states can consistently be read from the archive and used for follow-up projects.

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Ultimately, Continuous Commissioning allows commissioning times to be reduced by up to 75 percent. A significant cost saving and a shortening of lead times by up to 15 percent are possible through the use of simulation software (see FAQ on industrialPhysics).

With the new development environment consisting of 3D CAD system and simulation with industrialPhysics, virtual commissioning can also be experienced as a continuous process accompanying the development process. In this way findings and changes from mechanical, drive and control technology can continuously be synchronised with one another and kept consistent. The result: the fit is right at every point during the development and nothing drifts apart.

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