Digital twin of the machine

Construction, electrical planning, and automation pull together simultaneously

To meet the requirements of their customers, Norwegian machine builder Tronrud Engineering developed an innovative prototype in close cooperation with Siemens. Their goal was a machine that can pack 300 pillow bags per minute into boxes while maintaining the same footprint, which relates to twice the speed of traditional machines.

Digitalization is a huge opportunity. It’s a matter of not being afraid of the challenges but rather take the benefit that helps us to create more value.

Olav Tronrud, CEO Tronrud Engineerung

During development, the project team used Teamcenter, NX Mechatronics Concept Designer (MCD) and the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) as well as SIMATIC S7-PLCSIM Advanced to create 3d models of the machine and its parts, and to simulate its behavior.

This virtual image of the machine – the digital twin – enabled parallel work on design, mechanics, and programming. Tronrud Engineering managed to reduce the design phase by 10 percent and commissioning time by 25 percent, which lead to a significantly shorter time to market.

Learn more about how Tronrud Engineering developed world’s fastest packaging machine

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Virtual commissioning

No more brandy, just water – that’s how relaxed commissioning can be

Commissioning a new machine can be nerve-wracking because it shows if all disciplines have worked in an optimal way. Even more so when several kinematics have to interact, which can lead to collisions and damages. Tronrud Engineering avoided that problem with the help of virtual commissioning.

Because all parts, electrical schemes and automation engineering were designed in fully virtual environments, the digital twins could be used for simulating their behavior and testing their interplay – even in early, unfinished states. Thanks to testing all movements with the Mechatronics Concept Designer, all collisions took place in a computer. The commissioning phase has been reduced by 20 to 25 percent, which pays off for Tronrud Engineering: Reducing time on the shop floor makes it possible to produce more machines.

 

There’s one minor disadvantage of virtual commissioning: The loss of a self-mocking drink. Earlier, there was a little board on each machine on which the team put a dot for each collision in the machine – that could be converted to an expensive bottle of brandy. Today the team only drinks water.

Automation

Innovations paved the way to world’s fastest packaging machine

During development of the prototype it became obvious that significantly increasing work cycles while retaining the footprint of older machines required fundamental changes to the new machine. So, Tronrud Engineering used all available technical possibilities.

The new machine should be able to pack different sizes of bags and boxes, so the engineers had to make room inside. Therefore, they replaced the formerly used pneumatic motors with SINAMICS S120M distributed servo drives from Siemens, which also increased speed. The controller is a failsafe SIMATICS S7-1500F that provides all safety features and doesn’t require additional safety hardware while also reducing cabling efforts.

With help of the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) Tronrud Engineering managed to increase engineering efficiency as well, because they could use the same software environment for PLC, HMI and drive technology. Additionally, Tronrud Engineering used PackML, the modular industrial standard, which Siemens supports with a template. This allows to reuse the code easily for future projects, which leads to significant time savings.

Specific solutions for packaging

End-to-end solutions for the packaging industry

Many manufacturing companies are facing challenges like reducing time to market, increasing flexibility and efficiency, and improving product quality. For example, packaging industry requires faster machines that enable faster design and product changes, and come with a smaller footprint.

Thanks to Siemens supporting the modular PackML industry standard, machine builders are able to use PackTags. Together with MindSphere, the cloud-based open IoT operating system from Siemens, these can be used for easier documentation and data analytics. Evaluation of machine data leads to new insights that enable further optimization and increased efficiency of machines as well as predictive maintenance, that Tronrud Engineering can offer customers as a new service.

Specialist for packaging technologyAs a specialist for packaging technology, Siemens provides future-proof modular solutions like complex motion control – for series production even down to lot size 1.

Read more about our solutions for packaging machines