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Industrial measurement and testing: Faster commissioning results in quicker time to market

Bosch Rexroth provides insight into measurement and testing processes

To ensure consistency, repeatability, quality and compliance with regulations, many companies employ rigorous testing and measurement processes.

Kraus automation technology (KAT), specialises in providing tailored testing systems for life-span, fatigue and material tests.

To offer testing systems which meet the needs of their diverse customer base, KAT use National Instruments’ LabView software to create custom user interfaces for engineers.

Whilst LabView offers the benefit of a graphical approach to programming which visualises hardware configuration, measurement data, and debugging, the testing machine’s programmable logic controller – PLC, a type of computer – and the measurement and testing applications had to be engineered separately.

The result was a time-consuming process which required specific expertise.

Reduced engineering costs

KAT turned to Bosch Rexroth to provide a solution which removed the need for its engineers to work two programming environments – a move which would significantly reduce engineering costs.

Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering solution makes it possible to seamlessly integrate, model and automate all drive and control functionalities into the LabVIEW environment, providing full programming control without creating separate PLC code.

A specific library, which can be imported into LabVIEW, enables engineers to directly access the control functionalities of Rexroth’s IndraMotion MLC and ILC systems.

It provides the programmer with more than 550 virtual instruments and controls within a single, familiar software environment.

KAT now handles the entire engineering function for the jog mode, speed tests, positioning, sensors and actuators in LabVIEW, with no time-consuming PLC programming required.

Faster development for faster time to market

Before working with the Rexroth team, KAT engineers had to program I/O queries and axis motions separately and transfer them into a joint machine programme throughout all of their development phases.

As well as being time-consuming, the additional programming and commissioning gave rise to the additional possibility of errors.

Using LabVIEW and the Open Core Interface technology, combined with Bosch Rexroth’s modern automation solutions and drive technology, precise movements can now be carried out on KAT’s measuring and testing machines even without any PLC programming.

Stefan Beisendorf, from KAT, says: “Open Core Engineering enables us to reduce the number of interfaces. This is efficient, minimises the risk of errors and helps to make resource planning more flexible.”

As well as improving the speed of development, the full machine workflow can now be mapped in LabVIEW, which further speeds up the commissioning phase.

For KAT, this has resulted in huge time savings, especially since troubleshooting can also concentrate on one instead of two programming environments.

This considerable time saving and improvement in process efficiency has also enabled KAT to bring innovative and complex products to market much more quickly and inexpensively than before – without compromising on quality.