The engineering process for production plants is time-consuming and complex. The automotive industry would like to reduce the required time for this process. A prerequisite for this is a consistent engineering toolchain with standardised description formats and interfaces. These simplify the planning, design, programming and the real start-up stages, thus saving time and costs. Festo is researching this topic area together with Daimler and other partners in the ENTOC research project.
It is important to depict reality in sufficiently accurate detail for the virtual commissioning. For this purpose, behaviour models are required of the components that are integrated in the facility’s overall picture. In this way, accidental collisions can be prevented, process sequences with regard to cycle time optimised and control sequences programmed before the real commissioning. Testcase scenarios can also be run through in order to simulate errors in the motion sequence or the programming and their effects. This reduces the costs and time spent for start-up and increases the safety standard in the operation.
Aim of the project
In order to be able to provide the required models of individual components for the virtual commissioning, Festo is also looking for a standardised description of the components in AutomationML to enable a continuous toolchain. The standardisation helps to ensure that various software tools have a consistent data format. This makes the engineering process and the resulting virtual commissioning simpler and more uniform.
When planning a facility, for example, design engineers can integrate the digital illustrations of the components into their design software. Due to the detailed description of a corresponding system, the Festo experts with their specific knowledge are able to check whether suitable components are selected and can point out potential for optimisation if necessary. In addition, the necessary accessories can be proposed and ultimately the whole behaviour model can be provided including all the information and data necessary for the virtual commissioning.
To show the technical increase during the project a so called marriage station in the Daimler production will be used as demonstrator which joined the car body to the floor assembly. For the virtual commissioning of this marriage station, Festo provides behaviour models of its components and in the end they will interact with other component models in the virtual commissioning software.
The more realistic virtual model of the facility can then be used to create, test and optimise program sequences, test and service scenarios. This reduces the real start-up and the facility is available for production earlier.
Other project partners
Besides Festo AG, the following partners are involved:
- Daimler AG
- EKS InTec GmbH
- EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co. KG
- tarakos GmbH
- TWT GmbH Science & Innovation
From the field of science:
- Institut für Automation und Kommunikation e.V.
The ENTOC project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding code 01IS16023E.
As part of EUREKA, the European research initiative, ENTOC was awarded the ITEA 3 label. ITEA is a cluster programme to support R&D projects in the field of software-intensive systems and services. German EUREKA projects, and hence also ITEA, are supervised by DLR in Bonn. Besides the German consortium, there is also a Swedish consortium based around VOLVO Trucks, which also researches the consistent toolchain for virtual commissioning.