Manufacturing Smartly with Digital Assembly of Control Cabinets
A shortage in skilled labor prompted EPLAN to create the new Eplan Smart Mounting software to alleviate manufacturing bottlenecks by efficiently mapping out control cabinets digitally before they are manufactured.
Control cabinet manufacturing is not immune to a problem facing automation and manufacturing across the board—the skilled labor shortage. Businesses are constantly faced with manufacturing issues due to labor shortages in skilled departments. The problem persists throughout the entire automation industry, including the companies that manufacture the automation equipment, such as integrators and control cabinet manufacturers.
EPLAN Smart Mounting is a digital assembly tool that simplifies the installation of mechanical and electromechanical components for control cabinets. Image used courtesy of EPLAN
As a result, many manufacturers have looked to artificial intelligence (AI) and other resources to try and help reduce the effect of labor shortages on their production levels. EPLAN has developed software to help extend the effective reach of the current labor available in order to help manufacturers reduce bottlenecks and missed deadlines. The idea behind the new software is to efficiently map out the control cabinet digitally before it is manufactured. Once the cabinet is mapped digitally, the program is able to guide workers through the process of building the cabinet in the most efficient way.
Smart Control Cabinet Manufacturing
Utilizing a digital twin from EPLAN Pro Panel, EPLAN Smart Mounting is designed as an effective way to help speed up the process of cabinet building with reduced labor. The program takes workers through a step-by-step process on how to build the cabinet and where all of the components should be mounted. EPLAN also claims that less skilled labor can be used to work on cabinets with the assistance of the system because less critical thinking is needed to complete the cabinet.
The program includes a 3D visualization to help technicians recognize where parts should be placed, unlike abstract traditional drawings. All of the steps to be taken in the building of the cabinet are mapped out in accordance with the proper order the cabinet should be built. For example, the program walks workers through din rail mounting, and even shows proper drill location for the mounting screws. After the din rail is mounted, the Smart Mounting software works through each new procedure to be completed in a logical manner.
Cabling for control cabinets is simplified with EPLAN Smart Wiring. Image used courtesy of EPLAN
The software is browser based, meaning no downloads are required—the program can also be viewed on a tablet. The software updates in real time, allowing technicians to see changes created in the cabinet by the engineering or management department. Technicians can also add comments to certain components for the engineering department to see.
With constant updates in real time, technicians and the engineering department can always see an up-to-date version of the control cabinet progress and any documentation changes. This helps to reduce inefficiencies or mistakes caused by out of date drawings accidentally in circulation. It also promotes and improves communication between departments since everyone is looking at the same live documentation.
Manual comparisons of documents becomes a thing of the past in cases where specifications change. Any change, including different sized components or the addition or deletion of components, is easily transferred and updated across the platform. The software will then display to the technician which components need to be changed and where they are located.
EPLAN Pro Panel 2D and 3D designing software. Image used courtesy of EPLAN
Cabinent Cabling and Wiring
Data from EPLAN's digital twinning software, Pro Panel, can also be used in the cabling process once all of the components are correctly mounted as part of EPLAN Smart Wiring to prefabricate wires helping to streamline the process for a more efficient result. EPLAN's software is compatible with the Rittal Wire Terminal WT to create fully automatic wire assemblies.
Design Software Solutions
As a world leader in design software solutions, EPLAN hopes their latest software will help to ensure a high degree of efficiency and quality from the engineering face to the manufacturing face of cabinet manufacturing.