At the Digital Manufacturing Symposium which was co-located with the IMTS in Chicago, Marcelo Gracci from ThyssenKrupp discussed their use of robotics simulation and the concept of virtual commissioning. ThyssenKrupp does the manufacturing engineering and build of complex automated production cells, like they are used in the automotive industry.
Marcelo highlighted the results of a pilot project they made with a major automotive OEM in Brazil and how it transitioned to production. ThyssenKrupp Brazil started a year ago with with this project. After the successful first project ThyssenKrupp extend the project scope and included the PLC (programmable logical controller) in the simulation. This is known as Virtual Commissioning.
The issues he faces during the engineering process are multiple ones: Is the equipment positioned correctly? Does the cell works as planned? Does the devices operate as designed?
Solving these issues on the shop floor are costly and might lead to line stoppages without notice. ThyssenKrupp is using the Tecnomatix Robotics and Automation Planning solution to simulate the whole cell including robots and PLCs upfront to the start of production. This saves time and costs later on the shop floor.
Today a bigger group of engineers is using the solution on a daily basis. Marcelo gave an outlook that ThyssenKrupp will extend the use of the solution in the next year to other projects and customers. And even more, using this technology provided a competitive advantage for ThyssenKrupp.