3D Design for the Digital Factory
New construction, series launch, investment, optimization - as part of greater flexibility in factories, with increasing frequency assembly lines have to be reorganized, logistical processes modified and processes improved.
That’s why medium-sized companies need to get into digital design now: With the Industry-4.0 Support Software taraVRbuilder from tarakos GmbH in Madgeburg users now have the opportunity to assemble a digital factory from a modular construction kit!
In larger companies the individual parameters of the production and assembly processes are simulated by production planners in expert systems in order to study and optimize them. However, with increasing flexibilization the gap is growing between software scenario and reality in daily production routine. So why don’t the people in charge use a 3D design tool themselves? Herbert Beeste, founder and CEO of the software provider tarakos sees one reason in the high initial expenditure: “A detailed digital simulation of a real factory would take weeks and months using conventional means. Business operations don’t allow managers the luxury of so much time.”
That’s why tarakos developed a software program that allows users to dramatically reduce the learning curve with VRbuilder: without templates or proceeding from a 2D or 3D hall plan that can be read in conventional formats, the factory is replicated from objects that the program provides in libraries. This includes statistical objects like walls, pillars, gangplanks or stairs, protective fences, ramps, material to be conveyed or tables that can be placed via drag & drop. In logistics and production libraries you will find around 500 additional, usually animatable objects from materials handling technology, as well as portals and robots, workstations, vehicles, forklifts and storage and retrieval vehicles, machines and even animated persons. Many of these objects already correspond - due to collaboration with the manufacturers - to commercially available equipment that is used frequently in industry. Once these objects have been placed, they can be animated individually or in groups with a couple of parameters.
This happens without CAD or programming knowledge and results in a viable mapping of reality in a comparatively short period of time. Through trial and error and optimization of the animations users can then find a solution that stands out in three dimensions on the screen. Flight views can be recorded as video for presentations, giving scenarios the professional touch.
Users in Small and Medium-sized Businesses
At Rauch Furniture we’re not looking for standard solutions, but rather products that are specially tailored to client requirements. Many models in even more numerous variants are replacing the old mass production approach. The four Rauch furniture factories are mastering this challenge with the help of a range of 150 different models and a rising variety. “In the factory things are in a constant state of change and optimization. Nothing is really old. In order to continue our success in a competitive world, we have to take full advantage of all optimization possibilities”, says CEO Michael Stiehl.
A four-person production planning team regularly uses the taraVRbuilder at two workstations in order to keep permanent track of efficiency reserves at the assembly line of all four plants. With the help of taraVRbuilder the routes of the employees, the requirements for buffer areas, cycles and conveyor belt positions are simulated and perfectly coordinated before an assembly unit is really built. The software accelerates the planning and construction of new assembly lines, helps integrate new stations and facilitates modification and fine tuning of already established systems. “The software has proved its worth”, says Michael Stihl. “Our assembly was accelerated, a better and more secure basis for planning created, profitability calculations are more exact and decisions are easier to make.”
On the way to the Digital Factory
Experimental Industry-4.0 scenarios are being implemented already today: the visualization and simulation possibilities of 3D software offer valuable support. Along with the virtual reality environments, in which users can navigate by mouse similar to a computer game, planning results are additionally available as video, individual images or 2D and 3D export. Thus the 3D software can be a valuable means of persuasion - at all levels of the company all the way to the decision makers in management.
New License Model
In order to make occasional use of the software even easier, in particular for small and medium-sized companies, tarakos is focusing on a new license model for the future: “Our software will be used predominantly in projects”, Herbert Beesten avers. “That’s why we are switching to use-dependent payment. Users who don’t need the software continuously don’t have to pay for continuous use.”
A new starter package includes the program taraVRbuilder profi plus with all the libraries and educational material, a basic training program in Magdeburg, updates and hotline support as well as the first 100 days of use. After that users can order any number of usage days and have them delivered by softkey in an e-mail. This way the software costs are as flexible as the factory.