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Automation is the future

Control Cabinet Manufacturing 4.0 study - enormous potential for greater efficiency

Automation and digitalisation are essential building blocks for Industry 4.0 and their implementation depends on the deployment of well-designed and well-manufactured control cabinets and switchgear. To support this need, EPLAN has researched ways in which the design and manufacture of control cabinets and switchgear can be made easier and more efficient. 

The key to better communication between design and production achieve a data-driven operations strategy. Design and production are the two main areas within a products' value chain, but unfortunately personnel working in these two areas often undergo different training and adopt different working practices and methods. As a result, design engineers frequently have in mind production processes that are different from those which are eventually adopted. To put it plainly, the design and production teams both seek the same outcome, but set about achieving it in different ways - which often leads to problems, errors and inefficiencies. 

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How will control cabinets be manufactured in the future?

Researchers explored how better inter-departmental communication and data collection could help control cabinet manufacturers to create efficient, time and energy saving projects.

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Time savings of up to 45%

An interesting finding from the study, was that companies that currently work on a project/order basis, where designs are for the most part produced afresh for each order, can make time savings of up to 45% in their engineering processes by shifting to function-based, modular circuit diagrams.

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3D Production Data

The study also looked at the use of 3D production data. Designing control cabinets and switchboards in 3D is achieved by creating a 3D layout and then adding "virtual wiring" for the components. The 3D model helps designers make best use of the valuable control panel space. In addition, integrated aids automate tasks such as collision testing, adherence to component manufacturers' installation guidelines and ensuring that minimum bending radii are not exceeded.

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