Project: Digital Factory Toolkit for the Virtual Commissioning of Adaptive Manufacturing Systems

Planning a new manufacturing line or reconfiguring an old one to handle a new type of product is a complex and time consuming job. Simulation of manufacturing systems has aided in the testing and planning of manufacturing operations by allowing scenarios to be played out in minutes and hours instead of weeks and months. Using simulation tools enabled the designer to test ideas in the computer without having to spend millions on machines. However, typically the benefits end there. Models typically are left collecting dust after their first use and are not used in the following steps in the commissioning of manufacturing lines._x000D__x000D_Virtual commissioning of manufacturing systems is an important step towards reducing costs by speeding up deployment of new or reconfigured manufacturing lines. Once the end user has decided to purchase a manufacturing line from a machine builder or a system integrator, models can be used to test control algorithms prior to the real commissioning of the line. Taking advantage of virtual commissioning, debugging of control systems can be a simpler process by utilizing the simulation models to test the interfacing between different machines and the interaction to other factory floor devices, such as industrial robots, conveyors, turn tables, etc. _x000D__x000D_By integrating a distributed automation and control environment such as 4DIAC (Framework for Distributed Industrial Automation and Control), to an already existing 3D simulation product such as 3DCreate, a competitive product can be obtained by filling in the market gap that exists in today’s commercial environment. _x000D__x000D_PROFACTOR GmbH would provide the expertise on the distributed control market by introducing the engineering environment as well as the runtime environment of PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers) logic based on the IEC 61499 programming standard. The de factor industrial standard is still IEC 61131-3, and means for reusing the old code would be researched, but the CO push would be use the greater functionality offered by the new industry standard._x000D__x000D_Visual Components Oy would introduce off-line programming methods and tools for industrial controllers to be programmed with an intuitive 3D interface, with the simulation models mimicking the behavior and the looks of the real machine. New means for interfacing to the core services of the simulation engine will be offered to increase communication bandwidth of I/Os and other critical values. So far, the OPC (OLE for Process Control) standard has been a solution to interface diverse factory control systems; however, speed is the most critical problem – it’s simply not fast enough. Services would be offered to simplify and speed up the interfacing of different control systems to the simulation environment._x000D__x000D_The end result would benefit companies not only in the engineering side by providing easy means to test and validate control logics, but sales and marketing teams by allowing them to show the customers how the machine they are selling would work in real life, running the actual PLC code. Training and education of customers would be easier, once they purchase a machine or a manufacturing system, operators could be trained by using the simulated machines prior to the real commissioning, minimizing downtime. Universities and educational institutions would have the ability to train students in developing control systems and programming industrial devices without the need to procure expensive equipment. This would open a great market opportunity for both PROFACTOR GmbH and Visual Components Oy.

Acronym FAMUS (Reference Number: 5636)
Duration 01/01/2011 - 31/07/2013
Project Topic The aim of the project is to create a software toolkit for the virtual commissioning of adaptive manufacturing systems by combining off-line programming, simulation and a distributed automation engineering and control environment to accelerate the deployment time and minimizing on-line errors.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO result of the project is a software toolkit for the virtual commissioning of manufacturing systems. Integration of the Framework for distributed industrial Automation and Control (4DIAC) with the 3D Simulation 3DAutomate. Automation generation of function blocks based on the components used in the manufacturing system and the simulation. Automatic generation of simulation and control programs out of work flows.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Visual Components Oy Coordinator Finland
2 PROFACTOR GmbH Partner Austria