Because every movement countsWEBER automatic screwdrivers are in use worldwide for the most demanding applications: automotive, medical engineering, aerospace. Quality and efficiency are therefore the be all and end all at WEBER. That is why the company insists on an absolutely reliable solution using rugged industrial PC technology for mobile plant operation.
A cabled but mobile solution allows efficient operation of plants
One of WEBER's systems is the RSF robotic screwing system, which enables flow drilling joints and separable screwed connections to be made without preparatory processes. This system is mainly used in automobile and body construction, where user demands are continually increasing. Materials ought to become ever lighter but ever more stable – and cheaper if at all possible. Therefore screwed connections are increasingly being used instead of welded joints. Many well-known customers are using WEBER screwdriving systems for this task – in some cases up to 50 screwdrivers in one line. Christian Schönig, head of development at WEBER Schraubautomaten GmbH, said, "With closely clocked processes, it is crucial that we give our users a reliable solution with which they can parameterize and maintain their automatic machines." "We have developed our own PC-based application for this purpose. We would also like to offer our customers this solution on a mobile device."
WEBER machines and systems perform screwing, connecting, feeding and control tasks – making processes reliable and highly efficient
1956 marked the start of an extraordinary company story. What began then as "Elektromechanische Werkstätten" is now "WEBER Schraubautomaten GmbH", which stands for innovations, quality, and seamless service for the automation of assembly processes. The family-run company employs 270 people in Wolfratshausen and 400 employees worldwide. They develop, manufacture and sell a very wide range of solutions for automated screwdriving technology. More than 1,000 machines and systems leave the production facilities each year. Schönig explains, "We develop and manufacture individual components and combine them to produce fully automatic screwing and feeding systems. Our solutions range from human-robot collaboration to robot-assisted screwing systems and setting systems all the way to complete screwing and assembly cells."
Our challenges and our customers' challenges are clearly defined: a cabled device for mobile operation and maintenance.Christian Schönig, head of development at WEBER Schraubautomaten GmbH
PC-based application in tablet formatWEBER has developed its own application for Windows to visualize the processes and parameterize its systems on any industrial PC. Users can even use this application on the move with a SIMATIC ITP1000 Tablet PC from Siemens, which Weber has equipped with a specially designed handle and cable connection.
The ergonomic design aids the user, and is reliable and powerful
When selecting a suitable tablet PC, it was important for WEBER that the device hardware was designed for the specific application. Schönig explains, "The device has to communicate with our automatic machines via a LAN cable. This ensures that the process can only be controlled locally and the employee has adequate freedom of movement in the plant. We evaluated a total of 30 manufacturers for this feature. This showed that most of the tablets either worked only with WLAN or the ports were poorly positioned for the power supply, LAN and USB connectors needed for our requirements. This was where Siemens scored, because it was easy to make our connections to the SIMATIC ITP1000."
The tablet PC impressed with its powerful hardware and good support
WEBER is currently using the version with an Intel Core Celeron processor and is very satisfied with it. Schönig added, "Our .NET application already requires a certain computing power to run well. This is provided by the Celeron processor – its performance matches our requirements perfectly." The ruggedness of the device is also ideal. "Production halls are not extreme environments, but of course a tablet has to withstand some stresses, such as being dropped. But we do not need an 'extra rugged' version. Here again, the ITP1000 has the right balance of ruggedness and price." Schönig maintains that another decisive advantage of Siemens products does not lie in the device itself. He adds, "There are several manufacturers in the market for industrial PCs. But it is important to have a partner with whom one can generate solutions and who provides advice and works actively on issues. Siemens has technically clear and stringent procedures, good service, and the right competence."
The clever solution provides for efficient commissioning and operation processes
With the new HMI device, WEBER can now offer its users an optimal price-performance ratio. Christian Schönig explains, "For example, a line with 50 systems can be operated with some 8 tablet PCs. So 8 employees can work simultaneously on the line – without us having to install an operating PC on each system. With the tablet PC, I carry the intelligence with me, and only have to pay for this one device. This saves unnecessary costs for users, without impairing the efficiency of operation. Employees can easily go from one screwdriving system to the next, plug in the device, and the visualization runs."
But WEBER itself also benefits from the solution employing the SIMATIC ITP1000. Siemens guarantees availability for at least 5 years. This is substantially longer than that of other devices and makes an active contribution toward protecting investments. And there are still reserves of performance available. Schönig added, "At the moment, as well as our application, there is often a virus scanner or a program for evaluating the process data loaded onto the devices. In future, it is also conceivable that applications will run on the device which require more computing power. For this case, we can use a practically identical device with an Intel Core i5 Skylake CPU. That is another advantage, because we can continue to use the connection we developed ourselves." Benedikt Walch, a developers in Christian Schönig's team added, "The additional intelligent features also simplify servicing and fault diagnosis. All the relevant information can be seen on the tablet, plug it in and diagnostics or re-parameterization can be started immediately. For example, this enormously simplifies the first commissioning."
The function keys are ideal for us, the commissioning engineers: for navigating in the BIOS, updating, and loading images without an external keyboard. Simply brilliant.Benedikt Walch, developer, WEBER Schraubautomaten GmbH