The time to market for automation system design and development has decreased by up to 80% for a control technology specialist following the introduction of a comprehensive electrical system design package. WSCAD’s E-CAD software platform Suite X has delivered the result for automation system builder Bruckmann Steuerungstechnik GmbH (BSG), based in Uedem north of Düsseldorf, Germany.
BSG needed a solution that would interface with its own in-house developed configuration software and an established ERP system to deliver an intuitive, easy to use design and specification tool.
BSG is a control technology integrator, automating systems for process and manufacturing industries from single machines to full production lines. Author of its own software suite, the capability of BSG’s ONEsystems platform includes machine automation and control, data acquisition and vision across the automated operation, as well as software integration between ERP-level IT and real machine data.
BSG demanded a CAD package which could manage the design of its automation integration projects, and crucially, it also had to integrate with ONEsystems and be fully interoperable. Aware of the track record in deploying time-saving CAD packages for industrial automation solutions, BSG engaged with WSCAD with the aim of developing a partnership to create optimum automation design and streamline the design and development process.
The key challenge for BSG is time to market. Whether a new project or retrofit, BSG’s customers demand quick project delivery in order to optimise productivity. Integration with ONEsystems’ ERP system would be vital in order to reduce time on data transfer, management and accuracy. ERP integration would also increase efficiency of the project planning and procurement processes.
A further aspect to achieve reduced time to market is consistent product standardisation and the re-use of pre-developed, effective solutions. Crucial to reducing project time at BSG is electrical engineering design, from the development of individual machines and circuit diagrams with wiring and distribution components, through to complete production plants and switchgear. As a result, the re-use and automation of electrical design would be a key factor in achieving rapid time to market.
WSCAD was able to fulfil BSG’s requirements through deployment of its electrical CAD system Suite X. "It was important for us that the interface from the E-CAD supplier would be able to directly integrate with our ERP system, as well as enabling project replication to speed-up future projects,” said Leendert van Straalen, Operations Manager at BSG.
"WSCAD was able to provide the features we needed to design individual machines through to complete greenfield site project development - and be able to re-use these effective designs again. With the Project Wizard within WSCAD Suite X we received exactly the interface with which we could dock our self-developed solution to our ERP system.”
WSCAD Suite X’s integration with BSG’s ERP system means that projects which can be transferred directly are 80-90% faster to plan, according to BSG. Even projects which deviate from the standard design can be up to a third quicker in the planning stage.
Based on the customer’s specification, the bill of materials is placed with the ERP system and all relevant component data is then transferred from BSG’s ONEsystem software to WSCAD’s Suite X, ready for design. Integration includes the transfer of part numbers and technical data between the ERP system and WSCAD Suite X, speeding the design process.
Thanks to WSCAD’s basis of open integration, it can also communicate directly with other third-party ERP-related software, such as material suppliers. BSG uses WSCAD Suite X to communicate data to a supplier for the procurement of larger wire sets and bundles, making the process faster, more efficient, and more accurate. WSCAD Suite X’s Project Wizard stores macros for various function requirements, such as circuit diagrams and cabinet wiring, and automates their use, able to follow pre-set specifications on deployment.
It also generates electrical engineering documentation in a structured format, making service and maintenance faster and easier for BSG’s customers.
“The Project Wizard puts everything together automatically. Once planned and saved in sets, the Project Wizard follows all company specifications when arranging the macros and their variants,” said Leendert van Straalen, Operations Manager at BSG.
Using ERP-generated data combined with WSCAD’s Cabinet Engineering Expert module, which is inclusive within the suite, BSG’s designers can also quickly create cabinet wiring diagrams. Component selection is generated within BSG’s software, then once transferred to WSCAD Suite X, detailed design adjustments can be made accordingly.
BSG’s control programming is based on a Siemens platform, with control data also integrated with the WSCAD Suite. Programming configurations are recorded within the CAD software and any changes are automatically updated. WSCAD Suite X can also reciprocally communicate any changes made within its designs back to the Siemens portal.
Similarly, WSCAD Suite X’s integrated approach means that replacement of a component in one plan is automatically updated across associated plans. This also ensures consistency of engineering data, especially important for large-scale projects such as the design of a process plant. This capability has also resolved BSG’s requirement to re-use plans, meaning that once a design has been created, regardless of project size, it can form the basis of a new project with only specific adaptions required. BSG has also reduced project time by relying on WSCAD’s library, comprising over 1.4 million parts and including over 300 manufacturers, with 3D STEP drawings available.
Speed of development also means a CAD platform which is intuitive to use. The interface has been developed in conjunction with the experiences of designers within industry, including only occasional E-CAD users, making it usable with a limited number of settings. It’s also joined by the WSCAD Augmented Reality App, aimed at maintenance engineers, which visually identifies cabinet components and displays the relevant schematics and data, giving the engineers the data they need to quickly resolve any challenges.
"What we particularly like about WSCAD is the openness of the system and its logical structure. Handling the application is simple and easy to learn. Once understood, you can explore and use the many functions without further guidance. This is much more difficult with other systems," said Leendert.
WSCAD Suite X increases the speed of time to market with its integration capabilities and intuitive design functionality. It also further reduces total cost with additional modules included as standard and retails at a price point significantly lower than comparable solutions.