How the digital twin improves commissioning time
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With simulations on the digital twin, it can be seen early in the development process whether the planned machine really meets the requirements. The special machine manufacturer Hymmen thus reduces costs and improves the commissioning times of its systems.
Hymmen GmbH Maschinen- und Anlagenbau specializes in production technology for large-scale production of sheet-shaped materials and surface treatment of sheet and strip products. The medium-sized company based in Bielefeld develops, among other things, special machines such as printing, press and thermolamination systems as well as coating lines for the furniture, flooring, laminate and building materials industries. Until now, Hymmen has often presented the systems it has commissioned to the customer before they are delivered. However, due to the size of the plants, this is difficult and very costly, as Thomas Eikelmann, managing partner in Hymmen, tells us: “For example, pits are needed for the metal presses, but we cannot dig up our soil in the plant. every time. So we rely on digital systems to run simulations.”
Virtual commissioning with Mechatronics Concept Designers
The digital twin helps with implementation: It makes it possible to see early in the development process whether the planned machine meets the requirements, whether components and drives are designed correctly, or whether the control technology is working correctly. The Solid System Team was responsible for advising, developing and implementing an integrated solution based on the Mechatronics Concept Designers (MCD) from Siemens NX, as Eikelmann explains: “For us, the MCD is the central building block for the realization of a digital twin and the virtual commissioning of our printing and press systems.” The plant construction specialist has worked with the Solid System team for over 20 years. Systemhuset takes over consulting, integration and maintenance of the CAD solutions at Hymmen. SST has worked with EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co. KG for many years on solutions related to the digital twin Together they developed the right solution for virtual commissioning for Hymmen.
For us, MCD is the central building block for the realization of a digital twin and the virtual commissioning of our printing and press systems.
Hassle-free data exchange
Until now, Hymmen has designed its systems with Solid Edge. A complete CAD conversion to NX was out of the question for the plant manufacturer. On the one hand, the existing data must continue to be used, and years of know-how in Solid Edge must be preserved. “We still do very well with Solid Edge because we can show our complex systems in their entirety with this high-performance software,” says Jan Henrik Ostmeier, Head of Project Engineering at Hymmen. Therefore, the company made a conscious decision in favor of the consistent software combination from Siemens Digital Industries Software. NX CAD with its add-on Mechatronics Concept Designer could easily be implemented into the existing engineering landscape in addition to Solid Edge.
To enable a smooth data exchange with the MCD, the existing Solid Edge design workstations were connected via a plug-in developed by SST. After 3D engineering of the machines and the entire system, all components are read and kinematized directly in NX and Mechatronic Concept Designer. “Our digitization strategy was implemented directly and we were able to continue working with our data 1:1,” says Ostmeier happily. The upstream and downstream areas of construction also enjoy the benefits. In this way, already digitally modeled components that Hymmen receives from its suppliers can be integrated.
Consistency from engineering to automation
The physics-based simulation takes place in Mechatronic Concept Designer. For example, friction, weights or densities are also defined. Various additional models are also connected via an interface, which Ostmeier explains: “These are behavioral models where individual components are simulated, but also a communication simulation, a simulation of the classic control cabinet with inverter, motor control and so on, so to speak.” Consistency extends from engineering to automation. The machine builder can already use the MCD to design his Siemens and Beckhoff controllers during virtual commissioning. The solution is connected to the automation software – the TIA portal for the Siemens PLCs and Twin CAT for the Beckhoff PLCs. “It is very important to us that we basically do not make changes to the previously developed PLC program when we do this simulation. This means that we almost put into operation exactly the PLC program which will later also run on the correct system control,” emphasizes Ostmeier.
Cuts startup time in half
For example, Hymmen can program and adjust the robots used virtually. In this way, collisions later in operation and costly repairs after a collision in real test operations are avoided. Virtual commissioning on the digital twin also reduces travel times and costs for real commissioning on the machine. “In a system that we deliver to England, we commission the loading and stacking areas via the digital twin in advance, and you can already see huge effects. We are confident that we can reduce the commissioning time for this customer to half,” says Eikelmann. According to Eikelmann, a lot of money is “burned” by the customer at the very end, for example because something breaks due to incorrect programming. “Ultimately, the digital twin approach also benefits our customers directly. With the Mechatronics Concept Designer, we can determine the lead times for our systems in advance and make one or two adjustments before delivery,” Ostmeier emphasizes another plus point.
As soon as the knowledge gained during actual on-site commissioning is fed back into the digital twin world by collecting operational data, the circle is closed. In this way, Hymmen can check itself, draw appropriate conclusions and optimize its systems.