The encoway configuration solution for the automation technology company Festo now allows the automatic generation of circuit diagrams with EPLAN Engineering Configuration (EEC). The successful cooperation between encoway and the engineering solution provider EPLAN ensures a significant increase in efficiency and has great potential for future process optimisations.
Together with encoway and EPLAN, Festo has taken another step towards digitisation. After having configured complex valve terminals, Festo customers can now generate electrical and pneumatic circuit diagrams at the touch of a button. Festo is thus bidding farewell to an error-prone and time-consuming process. “Up to now, our project engineers have built the structural model of a configured, complex valve terminal manually for the customer,” says Markus Heilmann, Head of Process and Tool Management Systems at Festo AG & Co. KG, “Our new approach makes the use of the configuration knowledge for automated circuit diagram generation possible. The result is improved quality of information and significant time savings. After an initial, single effort when creating a family of products, only a few minutes are required for each customer request.“
Festo offers its customers, among other things, user-oriented configuration solutions for its extensive range of valve terminals. All the necessary information for product configuration is included in the configuration model. The logical next step was to expand the configuration models for the automation of further process stages. The various specialist departments of Festo, encoway and EPLAN therefore developed a common understanding for the best mapping of a product structure and the re-use of models. As a result, the configuration model now includes the product structure and other data relevant for generating the circuit diagram such as connector information and pin assignments. The data exchange between the encoway configuration solution and EEC takes place via a generic XML interface. EEC uses the relevant data to generate the circuit diagrams on the fly. Festo employees now only have to develop the structural model once per series as a basis, and thus avoid redundant data and effort.
Festo customers benefit from significant time savings and easier handling because a lengthy identification code is no longer necessary. For Festo, the successful cooperation will result in future-oriented benefits. Markus Heilmann reports: “We are very pleased with the clean and speedy implementation and we feel there is great potential for the future. With the new interface, the centrally available configuration knowledge can be used for other disciplines. In future, we will be able to make statements about products much faster and automatically.” Optimised control cabinet design is being worked on as the next expansion stage. For example, Festo also sees great potential for logistics and simulation. For example, the procedure also makes automated statements about flow volumes and weight possible.
Festo sees itself as a pioneer of digitised pneumatics. The successfully implemented project reflects this and is another step on the route to the realisation of a “digital twin” of their products.