Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division and a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, today announced a new integrated machine design solution aimed at creating value for companies that develop and market machine tools and production machines. Mechatronics Concept Designer™ represents a paradigm shift for the industry with a new systems engineering approach to machine design that captures “voice of the customer” input, manages early requirements and facilitates the simultaneous definition and simulation of the complex mechanical, electrical and automation software found in today’s increasingly complex machine tools. With an easy-to-use, interactive simulation capability based on groundbreaking “gaming” technology, Mechatronics Concept Designer can help significantly reduce development time and improve product quality for the global machine design industry.
Mechatronics Concept Designer, which is based on Siemens PLM Software’s flagship computer-aided design application NX™ software and works in conjunction with its Teamcenter® software, was announced today at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago. Siemens is also highlighting several other solutions at IMTS applicable to the machinery industry, including the Virtual Machine, a machine simulation toolkit that is part of the company’s Tecnomatix® software suite of digital manufacturing applications. The Virtual Machine allows OEMs to create a virtual version of a machine tool in software that can be used to maximize productive machine time on their customers’ real machines.
“Siemens PLM Software’s Mechatronics Concept Designer solution enables our entire development team to collaborate more effectively from the beginning to the end of the machine design process, thereby allowing us to catch and easily correct issues early, before they become costly manufacturing or customer related problems,” said Dr.-Ing. Siegfried Schmalzried, Managing Director MAG Switzerland, MAG Industrial Automation Systems. “In addition, its ability to capture and support requirements, coupled with its outstanding physics simulation, gives us the confidence we are producing a very high quality design that will meet or exceed our customers’ expectations. And that’s a strong competitive edge.”
The development process in the machine tool industry requires experts from several different disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, and software design, to develop a complex machine to the specific requirements of each individual customer. Traditional software tools don’t take requirements into account, and the lack of a “common language” has made it difficult for these disciplines to integrate with each other until the end of the design process when changes are more costly, both in time and money. This fragmented set of design applications combined with the complexity of the machines, has made it virtually impossible to simulate and evaluate various design concepts to support rapid and effective product development decision making.
Siemens PLM Software’s Mechatronics Concept Designer enables mechanical, electrical, and software/automation disciplines to work in parallel. It includes all the powerful mechanical design features of NX while enabling the user to develop a list of sensors and actuators which can be easily selected and positioned, laying the foundation for the electrical engineers to create the layout plan. And more efficient software development is supported through the ability to make the machine’s sequence of operations available in a standard format common in the machinery industry.
Working in conjunction with Teamcenter, the world’s most widely used PLM system, Mechatronics Concept Designer delivers an end-to-end machine design solution with an integrated systems engineering approach. At the beginning of the development cycle, designers can use the Teamcenter requirements management and systems engineering capabilities to build a functional model that ensures customer requirements are incorporated into the design.
“Machine tool builders must improve development methods that span from conceptual design through detailed design,” said Sal Spada, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group. “Specifically, development methods that facilitate conceptualization of a system early in the design process and track functional requirements with the implementation are essential to reducing time to market and ensuring that the completed system meets the customer expectations.”
Mechatronics Concept Designer also includes a state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capability based on NVIDIA® PhysX® technology. This physics engine, developed with the PhysX SDK from NVIDIA, is similar to the software technology used in many of today’s modern video games. This groundbreaking approach to simulation makes it easy to quickly create and interactively validate alternative design concepts. In addition, the user is able to interact with the digital machine model while the simulation is running, providing the ability to test the effects of different inputs in real time. The ability to model real-world physical behavior in the virtual world, based on simplified mathematical models, enables early concept verification that helps detect and correct errors when they are least expensive to resolve.
“Siemens PLM Software is constantly looking for ways to create value for our customers by focusing on their specific needs and developing unique solutions to meet those needs,” said Joan Hirsch, vice president of Product Design Solutions, Siemens PLM Software. “Mechatronics Concept Designer is an excellent example of this commitment and focus and its integration with NX and Teamcenter creates the industry’s most complete machine design solution. By providing the ability to simulate and validate complete concepts in a virtual environment we are not only helping our customers develop machines faster, we are also helping them design with more confidence and with a higher degree of quality.”