The outputs of implementing Engineering Automation

These are 10 aftereffects of implementing Engineering Automation:

    • One product model for all commercial requirements.
    • Easy to configure for non-technical people.
    • Configurable down to the detailed technical requirements.
    • Able of being extended to a sales configurator.
    • Capable of outputting sales Documents automatically.
    • Proposal documents, sales order documents data sheets and more.
    • Automated generation of 3D CAD models.
    • Automated generation of 2D Drawings.
    • Automated product sizing and engineering designs.
    • Automated generation of Technical Documents.
      BOM (Bill Of Materials), BOQ (Bill Of Quantity), Step-Files, flat patterns, manuals cost calculations, etc

Now, that you know the return you can have with the implementation. Let’s see one of our products, the 3D models, 2D drawings and Technical Specifications.


 

Watch the configuration DEMO here.

Industrial Bag Filter: Small Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications).

The Scandinavian Digital team developed three types of an industrial Bag Filter: Small, Medium and Large capacity. The different configurations were generated from the same model using Tacton Design Automation Studio. For this project we calculate that the amount of engineering hours saved was around 80% from days to hours.

In addition to the relevant reduction in engineering time we have 5 more important points: Higher quality because of the reduction in errors on-site and in manufacturing workshops also centralized design changes due to a pre-established master model, faster sales with an almost immediate response to customers and to conclude gains throughout the supply chain, for example, manufacturing, sourcing and logistics.

The models used within the configurator are described in an efficient programming language which makes it easy to build the product structure, attributes and other product/business rules, and speeds up response times seen from an end-user perspective.

The Technical Specifications are on the right up corner.

Industrial Bag Filter: Medium Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications). 
Before the SD solutions, the existing engineering process was deemed too costly and error-prone by management and the risk of introducing even minor errors in the design due to simple human oversight was sought eliminated. 

Sometimes it is shown that not only the engineering work should be in scope but rather the full customer flow; from the initial creation of a quotation over the manufacturing at the production workshop, to the final delivery, installation and commissioning at the customer site.

Industrial Bag Filter: Large Capacity (2D drawings and Technical Specifications).

 

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The end of never-ending engineering

Scandinavian Digital senior partner Morten Hugo Bennick, our Mr Config.

The Scandinavian Digital Senior Partner Morten Hugo Bennick, our Mr. Config, presents to us an overview on why companies still choose not to automate their processes and why they keep depending on the human brain to solve challenges that could be otherwise solved in minutes using a configurator. Engineering processes are never-ending and the Scandinavian Digital team is ready to help companies with this challenge.

The most successful products have a tendency to grow more complex with time, increase quality and decrease their price, for example, cars, mechanical watches, wind turbines and smartphones. Morten starts with an affirmation: “Anything can be configured”. And in order to improve engineering tasks and results… must be! The Engineer expert continues the conversation explaining why this never-ending engineering should end. “It will never end, however it can be reduced. why? Costs a relevant amount of money and time to the companies. And it is possible to have a smarter and cheaper process.” states the SD senior partner.

When we talk about “The end of never-ending engineering”, we are talking about skillful people working on a project that could be reduced from 3 months to 1 week, people who could be focus on innovation, deadlines, investment, data storage and protection after all when the engineer leaves the company he takes with him all his knowledge about the product and processes and last but not least the payback time. Reassuring the benefits of the automation of the engineering processes, he states: “We expect that the investment will reach a break-even within 1-3 years”. And he doesn’t stops there: “Consequently, with a configurator you have less errors, more time for Engineers to innovate and better chances of growing the company”.

The Scandinavian Digital Team offers a complete process for companies, starting with CPQ (Configure, Quote and Price) and main the product of the company that is Design Automation projects. To sum up, our expertise is automating the entire process and delivering long-lasting value to our customers.

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The 5 FAQs about ETO Automation

The most frequently asked questions about ETO Automation answered by the Scandinavian Digital experts!

At SD we are constantly questioned about what ETO Automation is, the benefits and what the relevance is to the industry.

Q: What is Engineering-to-Order Automation?
A: ETO Automation allows companies to reduce errors and the time used to manually modify heavily engineered models and elevates the quality of the design outputs. By creating processes and rules to catch engineering knowledge, a configurator delivers a 3D model, which is based on specific parameters defined by the client. Any modification needed is quickly implemented by changing the parameters and consequently a new 3D model is created.

Q: For which companies would it be relevant to automate the engineering work?
A: Companies with complex products within the industries of mechanical engineering, process, cement, mining, renewable energy, dairy and similar industries where there is high degree of product customization for each customer requirement.

Q: Why should companies consider supporting the Engineering Order Execution with ETO automation?
A: It is in essence a “must-have” if you want to beat the competition. The world is moving towards increased automation and if you do not obtain the first-mover advantage, your competitors will. The payback time is between 1 to 3 years and ETO Automation should be on the top of the winning agenda of all companies that spend time in customized engineering during the proposal stage or order execution of products.

Q: How does ETO Automation work ?
A: ETO Automation enables companies to capture all engineering knowledge in rules by utilizing a configurator platform. The outcome can be used both in a commercial setting but and also at the engineering level. Based on user inputs, ETO Automation will generate 3D models and 2D drawings automatically, as well as the bill-of-materials (BOM), and will ensure a high consistency and in the quality of the output. The time used for making proposals or order work is reduced from weeks to hours or even minutes.

Q: What tools are used for ETO Automation ?
A: We use Tacton Software integrated with CAD Systems from SolidWorks , AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor or PTC Creo.

Q: Why choose Scandinavian Digital to automate the Engineering Order Execution with ETO Automation?
A: The approach of a high-level team can definitely change the pace of a digital transformation and facilitate profitable growth for the customers. SD is probably the most experienced team world-wide when it comes to combining product configuration, design automation, modularization, standardization, IT integrations, change management and strategic advisory. Having already a considerable portfolio of automated products, we have – to date – never encountered a problem which could not be configured and automated.

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Supplier integrations

Through a collaboration between an engineering to order company and one of their supplier the team behind Scandinavian Digital have implemented a web based solution. This maintain up-to-date information about suppliers and integrates directly with them by accessing the suppliers configuration program from the companies configuration platform. In short two configurators in different companies finding the best solution.

Complete, accurate and well-maintained supplier records are crucial for the smooth running of engineering company business operations. It helps in improving efficiency, productivity and significant reduced lead time.

The company configurator is implemented with a supplier’s configurator which means the two configurators will “negotiate” the most optimum solution during sizing and pricing of the equipment.

The configurators platform is a highly modularized web-based system with a web API that allows to create new interfaces for engineering software tools like SolidWorks, Inventor, SmartPlant, MathCAD, STAAD.Pro, Excel to be used a cloud-based services. This technology enables the end-users to have easy knowledge of the engineering tools they use via the configurator platform.

The configurator fulfills the industry 4.0 standard and can work directly with suppliers for calculating correct prices and retrieving the correct customized product documentation based on the specification created by users.

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The future is in 3D

Engineering documentation in 2D is regarded by many as the only legal documents accompanying a contract for the purchase of a technical product. It is (wrongly) thought that only 2D drawings can represent technical details and instructions about manufacturing as well as measures for accepted tolerances.

A product model in 3D can fully represent the same information – and more – as in a regular 2D drawing. Manufacturing instructions and tolerances can be built into the model and, what is even better, the 3D model can be fed directly into an industrial robot for manufacturing.

If printed 2D documentation is still required, this can be automated from the 3D model itself. 3D functionality and representation can even be contained in a PDF with the so-called MBD format.

Contact Scandinavian Digital for more details and examples.

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Reduce lead times in the proposal and order execution

Scandinavian Digital has helped companies reduce engineering lead-times and elevate quality standards for a wide range of complex products within the heavy engineering industry. All through a user-friendly interface which appeals to individuals from both technical and non-technical backgrounds.

The configuration tool supports and optimises the daily workflow for sales, proposals, orders and spare parts. The system automatically generates various types of output needed to support the proposal and order execution process, including proposal documents, parts lists, instruction manuals, technical data sheets as well as full 2D and 3D documentation and more.

The proprietary Scandinavian Digital configurator currently interfaces to MathCad, STAAD, Dassault SolidWorks and Enovia, Autodesk Inventor, SmartPlant, MS Office and PDMWorks. This supports the configuration process through a one-point-of-truth concept in order to link into complex calculations, engineering data, design rules, technical specifications and product lifecycle information that are to be managed outside of the configurator.

The models used within the configurator are described in an efficient programming language which makes it easy to build the product structure, attributes and other product/business rules, and speeds up response times seen from an end-user perspective.

A configuration platform for any engineering company would contain a wide range of products. Below is a single example of the several hundreds of products that the Scandinavian Digital team has developed with some of its key features.

Industrial Fan

Should the duct turn up/down/right/left ? Should the fan be radially or axially oriented ? Which of possibly 360 degrees should be chosen for mounting (with impact on load calculations) ? Which of 3 different materials should be used for fan blades ? Should the motor voltage cater for the EU or US market and which of 3 efficiency ratings and 23 possible power outputs should be chosen from the 3 different available suppliers?

The preceding initial questions would give close to 3.6 million possible combinations and would not even take into consideration the internal combinations of the mechanical design itself.

Shown above is a single of the more than 100 billion possible fan configurations, complete with i.a. motor, ducting and frames

Ending up with more than 100 billion possible combinations for this – at first glance – simple product, the time it took to finalise the engineering work during order execution was inacceptable for the customers and it was estimated that a considerable amount of the market was lost due to long lead times in order execution.

Prior to the arrival of Scandinavian Digital, previous engineering was overly manual and based on a principle of reusing earlier orders and adjusting stored template designs – the few existing rules were found scattered around in documents, worksheets and bespoke calculation programs.

Further, the existing engineering process was deemed too costly and error-prone by management and the risk of introducing even minor errors in the design due to simple human oversight was sought eliminated.

Now it is possible to keep track of all variants with a configurator-based design. Selecting and sizing the correct fan variant was very important for the company for which an optimisation of the entire E2E flow ended up being the target.

During the initial discussions with Scandinavian Digital, it became apparent that not only the engineering work should be in scope but rather the full customer flow; from the initial creation of a quotation over the manufacturing at the production workshop, to the final delivery, installation and commissioning at the customer site.

The fan configuration model is now capable of generating automated documentation in both 3D and 2D as well as complete parts lists including the Bill Of Materials (BOM).

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