How can SMEs start to automate their shop floor?

Posted on 14 Feb 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Louis Feinstein, Dassault Systèmes’ portfolio manager for mechatronics and IoT solutions, presented at SOLIDWORKS World 2018 a solution for SME manufacturers to start automating their shop floors.

Louis Feinstein, Dassault Systèmes’ portfolio manager for mechatronics and IoT solutions, at SOLIDWORKS World 2018.

The 3DEXPERIENCE TWIN makes it possible; a virtual and a real robot can be synchronised, controlled as one simultaneous unit through a virtual controller.

And both robots can be synthesized by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) without any additional hardware being installed.

A PLC, or programmable controller, is an industrial digital computer which has been ruggedized and adapted for the control of manufacturing processes, such as assembly lines, or robotic devices.

Robots simulation in a virtual world

Feinstein said at SOLIDWORKS World 2018 in Los Angeles: “The information extracted from the virtual and the real robot are going into the cloud; the dashboard is showing and defining the information of the different aspects of the robot and operational parameters of the robots.

“We demonstrate the ability of building a virtual product and to actually control the real product; Industry 4.0 – companies can now program their factory in real life and understand how it is going to operate without even having the robots.

“And once the robots are available, manufacturers can then connect them together and have the ability to monitor and everything can be set up very easily your facility. “

One of the main advantages of the 3DEXPERIENCE TWIN is that manufacturers can simulate real robotics not only in a real but as well in a virtual world.

This is the 3DEXPERIENCE environment, which gives engineers and manufacturers the possibilities to have a rich and deep capability to simulate and to understand the robotic environment before it is actually set up.

A good start for SMEs to automate their factory

Feinstein explained that the UR10 industrial robots could be skilled to real factory robots to do any task which is repetitive, laborious to human beings or which may cause harm.

Feinstein said: “They could be picking and placing parts, they could be putting parts on a board or they could be picking parts up and moving them to a conveyer belt.

“These robots are designed for the shop floor, for SMEs who want to start putting automating processes into their factories and to make their processes faster.”

More cost transparency on the shop floor

And the robotics are a smart way to reduce costs on the shop floor. Today, most robots must be trained, and there are different ways to do that.

One way is, that an operator has to drag the robots arm and just tell it to grab and pull the object into the direction as required. The software then does the rest, applying the correct movements from its library of motions.

Feinstein underlined: “We are removing the training and doing it in a virtual space, and then we are able to move it directly to the real space. This ability to program the robot or any kind of cyber-physical product, such as the 3DEXPERIENCE TWIN as we call it, is amazing.

“Through programming the robots in the virtual world ahead of time, it is possible to save a lot of money, because while the robots are actually doing something, you can program them offline.

“It is a so called “If-We” situation, using technology that is off the shelf in our Dassault Systèmes and SOLIDWORKS portfolio.”

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