Opinion Piece: Welcome to a world where avatars simplify machine building

By Kamogelo Makwana, Offer Manager – Power Products at Schneider Electric.

In the world of machine building, core components, and the ease with which it can be selected and installed, form a vital part of overall efficiency.  Thanks to the continued proliferation of Industry 5.0 and IIoT, machine builders are now benefiting from simplified design processes.

Not long ago, it would have been hard to imagine that machine builders would have the ability to connect motors to the Internet to access the data required to improve design, installation, and machine maintenance decisions.

Now manufacturers are producing digitised solutions tailormade for machine builders.  For example, tremendous strides have been made in the areas of motor starter and motor load management technology. These technologies are fully digital, offer object-orientated management and other gains throughout the entire machine lifecycle.

Choose your avatar – configuring and building just got better

Traditionally, when configuring a motor starter of load management solution, machine builders have to access several physical catalogues to contact the right contractors and obtain the requisite parts information.

Once the components are delivered, it then needs to be properly mounted, connected to the PLC and then programmed.

Digital solutions such as Schneider Electric’s TeSys island digital load management offering, ship with online configurator tools that feature avatars, pre-programmed with the requisite and integrated functionality.

These avatars. which are in essence digital objects. provide the knowledge required to build a specific application. A comprehensive avatar catalogue features anything from load functionalities and basic applications to conceptual to digital twin in Industry 4.0.

For example, the machine builder can simply select the appropriate avatars that represent the functions required, and the configuration tool automatically generates the appropriate bill of materials of the TeSys Island build components for the selected application.

When the machine builder starts programming the solution, the file created by the configuration tool, and all the settings that were indicated in the selection process, are automatically imported. The time-consuming task of dual or triple entry of specifications is avoided.

Accelerating commissioning 

Machine builders are now also benefiting from software tools and hardware that are simplifying the commissioning process.  Again, with a digital solution such as TeSys island, individual avatars can provide:

  • Predictive maintenance – machine builders can now determine precisely (at an end user site) where a particular machine is located and determine accurately the end of life (EoL) of the machine.

Other information includes motor starter statistic data, energy data, motor performance, motor protection and upstream protection which comprise phase and ground current.

  • Troubleshooting – machine builders are forewarned if for example the preset threshold has been breached and a machine start overheating.  This warning is issued before the machine experiences any downtime.

Importantly, this information can then be analysed to mitigate future incidence.  The data is also viewable from most browsers and mobile devices.

Digitised solutions are also simplifying machine builders’ workload due to its open communication features.  This means, these OEMs can work with several brands of motor starter equipment whilst still benefiting from the productivity enhancement without interoperability issues.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Machine facilitates OEM implementation work by connecting intelligent devices, regardless of manufacturer, with edge control and software-based analytics, all within a cybersecure envelope.

Lastly, TeSys island can also be utilised for other applications that require digital load management and optimisation such as in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods), waste water treatment and general manufacturing.

For more information please on TeSys island please visit :https://www.se.com/za/en/product-range/65746-tesys-island/?preferredCountry=yes#documents.

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