Series: How to optimise your control cabinet construction

Part 2: Digital data consistency accelerates control cabinet construction

| Editor: Theresa Knell

This is how digital data continuity can look like: Weidmüller's Wire Processing Center - Consistent data, no printed plans, no media breaks between individual process steps.
Gallery: 1 image
This is how digital data continuity can look like: Weidmüller's Wire Processing Center - Consistent data, no printed plans, no media breaks between individual process steps. (Bild: Weidmueller Interface GmbH & Co. KG)

In the first part of our series, you learned that an increase in the productivity of control cabinet construction can only be achieved if all aspects of the value-adding process are considered holistically. If the optimisation potential of the interfaces connecting individual process steps is fully exploited, the costs of production automatically decrease.

In this article, we will demonstrate the significance of digital data consistency in control cabinet construction.

Important phases in the manufacturing process of control cabinets are the design and manufacture. In view of growing challenges, these phases consume important resources in the control cabinet construction industry. During the design phase, for instance, about half of the time is spent on project planning and the preparation of circuit diagrams.

Until now, designers planned the control cabinet on the PC and then printed circuit diagrams and parts lists for use in the workshop. There, the data was manually entered at the workstation - a major source of error, for example due to typos. Manufacturers of control cabinets therefore also need to check the dimensions and cable quantities, which further prolongs processing times.

Fewer manual processes reduce errors

To prevent these errors from occurring, manual intervention should be kept as low as possible. This can be done by digitally capturing and transmitting data - starting from order intake and project planning. By ensuring end-to-end digital management of the entire process, efficiency and productivity can be increased and time saved. This is because data can be exchanged via defined interfaces between the E-CAD software used in the design of control cabinets and CAE, PDM/PLM or ERP systems.

In this way, the correct, current data from the design department is available in digital form across all work steps right through to production. Altogether, this kind of data consistency not only simplifies engineering through to assembly, but also the complete documentation in the individual production steps through to spare parts management.

Improved quality thanks to consistent data

Digital data consistency enables faster time-to-market and increases security in the manufacturing process. This can be a decisive competitive advantage. If everyone involved in the process chain can access the same, current data, certain sources of error, such as typos or changes that have not been transferred, can be completely avoided. Manual input is reduced to necessary entries, such as starting the next program step on the machine. This can pay off: A study conducted by the Institute for Control Technology at the University of Stuttgart has shown that consistent digital data management can increase efficiency by up to 43%.

Furthermore, digital data consistency - ranging from incoming orders to the finished products and logistics - facilitates a standardised documentation, which can be created almost automatically. Despite a shortage of skilled workers and constantly increasing time pressure, processes can be further accelerated, and quality requirements fulfilled at the same time. If a customer encounters a problem, it is easier for the After Sales Service to react to it. They can quickly access the documented data to retrace the cause of a problem.

Conclusion

Digital data consistency is the basis for consistent processes in control cabinet construction, allowing for efficient, fast and high-quality production - even for batch sizes of 1. In addition, users not only save material but also time.

The third part of the series "How to optimise your switch cabinet construction" explains how standardisation and certification contribute to efficiency and safety in control cabinet construction.

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