How to realize an autonomous control cabinet production

By Engelbert Blumenthal

NX Industrial Electrical Design provides the digital twin of the control cabinet and the digital twins of all included electrical products for autonomous control cabinet production. Find out, what users need to learn.

Autonomous manufacturing has already arrived in the present. Just as Industry 2.0 electrified factories and Industry 3.0 introduced robotics, completely autonomous processes will be the norm in many areas within a few years – that is the essence of Industry 4.0. Smart, decentralized robots will communicate with and adapt to one another, each assuming a specific role but all geared towards a common goal. Possible erroneous human interventions are eliminated so that employees can concentrate on more meaningful, more creative tasks.

Autonomous control cabinet production

The basis for autonomous control cabinet production is consistent, precise, process-wide data. The digital twins of the electrical products as well as the digital twin of the control cabinet itself are therefore required for autonomous control cabinet production. The prerequisite for autonomous systems is the interaction of simulation and automation. The control and simulation of the entire production is cloud-based. The runtime for the autonomous system runs on the SIMATIC controller in the control cabinet. Based on the comprehensive digital twin, robots are able to automatically place rails and cable ducts on the mounting plate. The robotic arms perform their autonomous task without being programmed for it. This makes it possible to set up different mounting plate configurations.

Creation of the digital control cabinet with NX Industrial Electrical Design

The software tool NX Industrial Electrical Design, part of the Xcelerator ™ portfolio, the comprehensive and integrated software and service portfolio from Siemens Digital Industries Software, offers a complete electrical engineering package for industrial applications. It enables the creation of electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic schematics and complete control cabinet layouts. Integrated reporting capabilities enable the user to quickly create all the report documents required to produce his designs.

Digital twin of the control cabinet in NX Industrial Electrical Design

The software tool is based on an integrated data model, 2D electrical schematic symbols and the corresponding representation in the 3D cabinet design are linked accordingly. This means that the electrical engineer has consistent data all the time and the ability to navigate between the electrical schematic and the cabinet design. This consistent 3D control cabinet layout in NX can be provided to autonomous control cabinet production.

Smart Control Panel Design

With the help of the Control Panel Design functionality in TIA Selection Tool, electrical engineers can design and dimension the main electric of a machine according to the standard. This simplifies the electrical engineering tremendously. For example, it is possible to design load feeders according to UL or ICE, including cable dimensioning and short-circuit calculation. Of course, the corresponding accessories are also taken into account. This means that the electrical engineer can digitally describe a load feeder completely according to the standard. This information can be further processed in NX Industrial Electrical Design or the SIEMENS Industry Mall.

TIA Selection Tool – Control Panel Design functionality

Digital products are completing the digital twin

For a smooth engineering process, electrical engineers need manufacturer-validated, high-quality technical product data of electrical components. The SIEMENS Industry Mall offers electrical engineers’ access to intelligent Siemens product data.

NX Industrial Electrical Design manages the data of the manufacturer catalogs within the NX Reuse Library. From here, the intelligent product data can be used to create the electrical schematics and the cabinet design. The NX Reuse Library can be filled directly via the SIEMENS Industry Mall or the CAx Download Manager. This complete digital description of Siemens products completes the digital twin of the control cabinet.

Siemens Industry Mall integrated in NX Industrial Electrical Design

About authors

Engelbert Blumenthal, Senior Product Manager at Siemens Digital Industries Software

Gregor Stein, Head of Marketing and Business Excellence at Siemens

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at