In the industries of the future, ordering and production processes will be increasingly digitalized and automated. The goal: consistency and data transparency along the entire value-added chain in order to reduce costs and times and prevent unnecessary added expense. To support this horizontal integration, WAGO offers a solution, smartDATA, an engineering service that assists users from planning and designing through engineering up to testing and commissioning.
During this period of implementing Industry 4.0, the complexity and individualization of products is increasing, greater specialized expertise is required, and pressures to hold down costs are also greater, such that companies find themselves caught between the good and the inexpensive. Corporate competitiveness is ultimately determined by the expertise of their employees and the features of their products or services, but primarily by the effectiveness and efficiency of their production processes. To support their customers on the road to greater efficiency, WAGO offers smartDATA, an engineering service with a multitude of data and services focused on individual products and solutions. This enables consistent data handling and prevents system interruptions between different facilities, which can lead to iterations and thus to a significant added expense.
A Unified Field Solution
This is already applicable during electrical engineering planning and designing: If the expert designer has to import data using different design tools in order to accept customer project data, like wiring diagrams or component lists, then WAGO can support this with the smartDESIGNER tool. The program has interfaces to numerous CAE tools, like EPLAN and WSCAD, and thus enables an easy acceptance of existing electrical engineering design statuses. As a web application, the software is also conveniently accessible via the internet and does not require integration by an IT department. This saves both time and money because outsourcing to an external service provider is not required, there are no invoices for new installations or software updates, nor do problems arise between different software versions. Design statuses can be administered or recycled by setting up an independent account.
If electromechanical components or automation systems from WAGO are used, then smartDESIGNER supports project designers by providing a direct link to WAGO’s online catalog. The most current product information is always available as data sheets, including product pictures, and downloads of CAE and CAD data.
If, e.g., a carrier rail is configured, smartDESIGNER automatically checks it. The application knows, for example, when using rail-mounted terminal blocks, that an end plate must be placed to prevent contact between live parts. If controllers are planned, the start-up current is calculated, among other things, in order to determine a need-based power supply. Once the design is completed, the desired products, including pre-assembled carrier rails, can be ordered via the online shop. They are manufactured individually for the client and then shipped.
After a check of the logic in smartDESIGNER, the data can be compiled for further use or graphically displayed in 3D for further review, and then documented. Parts lists, pictures of the products used, or marking data for components that will be incorporated later in the control cabinet, can be generated and printed, for example, for the railmounted terminal blocks.
Horizontal Integration – from smartDESIGNER to e!COCKPIT
If intelligent components are planned for the carrier rail, it is possible to easily transfer data from smartDESIGNER to the e!COCKPIT software tool. WAGO offers e!COCKPIT, a software tool for programming complete components that was explicitly designed to be user-friendly and intuitive to operate. e!COCKPIT supports all manufacturing steps – from hardware configuration and programming through simulation and visualization up to commissioning. In order to flatten e!COCKPIT’s learning curve, the user interface looks and feels like the one from the current Office programs. And to maintain transparency in a project, even as the complexity increases, the user interface prominently features a context-sensitive menu. This means that only those menu points and functions appear that could be currently used in the design or operation. Components can be placed in the main area of the user interface and virtually connected to each other using drop & drag. And because this convenience prevents connection errors from ever occurring, it also prevents costly troubleshooting after installation. Since several controllers can be simultaneously configured and programmed in e!COCKPIT, it is possible to simulate and run through different test scenarios for the planned system.
While smartDESIGNER functions as a powerful online design tool to guarantee interfaces for electrical designs, accelerates the entire design and ordering processes, and additionally offers optimal possibilities for documentation, the interface to the e!COCKPIT software tool guarantees consistent transmission of design data for further configuration and programming of the automation components. This supports that decisive, competitive step of quickly and safely implementing new machine functions in modern equipment and systems.
Text: THOMAS HOLM, WAGO