The simulation and Virtual Commissioning department was born to face a clear imposition of the automotive market: an improvement and continuous optimization of each of its processes to be able to differentiate itself in such a competitive environment.
Virtual commissioning enables validation of a machine’s code to prevent and correct errors that might appear before it is deployed. The virtual commissioning process increases software quality and reduces total on-site deployment time.
Our extensive experience in automated production lines commissioning for the automotive industry, together with the departments that cover each of the responsibilities inside it, has given us the experience to know what are the points where the most failures are committed and in which tasks are invested the most time.
At RBX, the simulation and commissioning department was born with the aim of connecting all the parties involved to perform an offline that adapts more precisely to reality and giving a support to the commissioning by programming tools that reduce errors and save time.
All disciplines are inolved together with one purpose:
To simulate with precission and optimize the designs of what will later be the automated process.
Finally, all hardware is virtualized, and PLCs and Robots are simulated under the native language of each brand and standard selected for each installation.
Advantages of Virtual Commissioning
Reducing actual commissioning times
With the virtual commission we manage to minimize commissioning times and errors that occur during software development, and in mechanical, electrical and pneumatic designs. This teamwork results in a drastical saving of time and money, by reducing changes in designing and reprogramming during the commissioning time.
Verifying the manufacturing process and final result
It allows to simulate the tools and their operations and therefore, check the feasibility of all processes as well as the final result of the product.
To debug our mechanical, pneumatic, and electrical developments and their interaction between them
Sometimes there are small errors in designs that are dragged to the customer facilities. Thanks to the 3D environment and the possibility to define mechanisms according to design, we can find these faults and correct them before manufacturing.
Developing Offline programming for PLC and Robots ready to load and run
Using existing commercial software and communication tools, the actual behaviour of PLC’s and robots can be virtualized and connected to the vistual station, allowing the final code that will be later installed into the hardware to be run in advance and therefore, to be debugged and optimize to predict their behaviour.
Actual verification of cycle times and process needs
Once the entire process is programmed and verified, the most real possible cycle times can be taken, and a very thorough study is done to fins possible critical situations, such as production bottlenecks, to be able to find solutions before commissioning time.
Allows you to pre-configure hardware and technologies
Each item can be virtualized and connected separately. Therefore, the time of general hardware commissioning is also reduced by having already prepared its configuration and signals mapping.
Training in these disciplines is a key pillar for RBX’s Virtual Commissioning department. It is part of our philosophy, but always respecting the previous experience in commissioning as it is the only way to be effective: not to replicate already known errors and not to generate new ones by ignoring the real needs of a production line.
We focus on training our own programmers, who already have extensive experience in Onsite programming, passing our experience in previous projects. Thanks to that, we count with the proper environment and the knowledge for the training and the correct realization of a good job.
Software used at Virtual Commissioning
There are different solutions in the market to perform simulation and virtual commissioning, but these are the main ones we work with:
This Siemens tool is the most powerful for offline development and virtual commissioning and allows us to meet all our needs. On one hand, it has the environment of the software process designer, which allows to assemble all the mechanical elements thanks to its 3D designs and equip them with the actuators and sensors necessary for their complete virtualization. On the other hand, we have the power of the Robcad Software to be able to simulate and treat communications in the robot’s native language, and even incorporate the standard of the installation and connect them to Virtual Controllers (RCS) distributed by the same manufacturers, so that the controller executes the code at the last level and its final behavior is as realistic as possible. Finally, we have the possibility to send all the signals from the cell through OPC servers and communicate them to any PLC brand and verify the Offline of the same.
Simulation software for PLC
Using software such as Process Simulate, gives us the possibility to use OPC servers and connect it directly to real hardware or even simulated hardware. That is why we don’t need any additional software other than the same one that will be used by the actual PLC, and that would be, as examples, Siemens, Allen-Bradley, Omron etc.
Robotic simulation software
When a more specific application needs to be generated, the most favorable option is to choose the brand’s own software. For example, to design a standard, program a specific technology or generate more advanced functions such as a palletizing system, more powerful tools are needed to debug these applications.
Here are the three main options:
1. RobotStudio, for ABB
2. WorkVisual, Kuka Sim and OfficeLite for KUKA
3. Roboguide for Fanuc
Thanks to these softwares, Offline programs have been generated when the client has specified it, but it has also been possible to design the functions and applications previously mentioned that without a real robot, wouldn’t have been possible in the past.
Last but not least, we also develop software to meet commissioning needs. As can be text processors for batch verification and correction of PLCs and robots code, or tools for managing and controlling projects and line backups. To achieve it succesfully, our sofware development team have experience in different programming languages existing in the market such as: C++,C, Visual Basic, Python and so on.