At the SPS IPC Drives 2014, which took place from 24th to 26th November in Nremburg, HEITEC exhibited simulation programmes for virtual engineering, M2M communication, and UIs, which are useful for planning, implementing, or upgrading systems, as well as making processes more efficient.
Solutions based on tools such as Plant Simulation, ProcessSimulate, WinMOD or VIRTUOS can be tailored to customer-specific requirements. Virtual operation during the implementation of a system supports effective plant design and permits minimum-risk, faster and more cost-effective automation steps from conception to realisation. The original automation software is tested by the supplier with a simulation of the production environment and the plant before delivery.
Single, consecutive production steps as well as the entire system can be tested in real time and all sorts of potential incidents can be simulated. All of this happens in a direct communication of the simulation computer in combination with already available real physical components. Even hazardous error scenarios can be tested without risk to man and machine. A good example is the use of a virtual robot. Parallel processes speed up electrical engineering, software development and start of operation. With the same manpower, more extensive tests can be performed, and operators and service personnel can be trained much faster. Sophisticated production also requires high precision and the seamless interaction of all elements, which can be achieved more easily thanks to virtual engineering. Last but not least, the software quality for automation and drive solutions with all functional interfaces is easier to improve, and retrofits can be performed more effectively with less down time.
Clearly, the advantages are avoiding errors in the early design concept, a smooth sequence of production steps, faster implementation while minimising cost and risk and maximising system availability. Compared to other concepts, virtual engineering is claimed to reduce lead time by about 15% and start-up time by up to 80%. For an initial plant design this may cut four to six weeks off the lead time.
HEITEC develops custom solutions for intuitive operation of machines and production lines with innovative frameworks based on Java, C ++ / Qt and Microsoft .NET. Interfaces are available for stationary user terminals on machines and workstations, as well as for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. To standardise communication on control level or between cyberphysical systems and IT components, HEITEC developed an M2M gateway based on a publish-subscribe protocol.