Barry Chatham Barry Chatham Barry is a Business Consultant for EPLAN UK, working closely with the commercial team and a facilitator to the technical team in ensuring that EPLAN are delivering the right value at the right time to our customers.

How to break down the wall between engineering and production with 3D

Author: Barry Chatham Time to read: minute minutes

The transfer of projects sometimes doesn’t run smoothly between engineering and production. It is as if there is an invisible wall between the two departments. Whilst improving the mutual communication is essential for efficiency, designing in 3D will also help you break through this wall. Read this blog to find out how.

Designing a cabinet as a 3D computer model by drag and drop is also called virtual prototyping. Visual representations (digital twins) of the suppliers' physical components are used. 2D views are generated from the 3D environment. The person who builds the physical panel can see how the engineer came up with it, preventing any unnecessary questions. Even before any holes have been drilled, working in 3D makes it possible to open the enclosure door and identify and solve any problems.

Efficient handling of last-minute changes

Last minute changes may be required if a customer (unexpectedly) sends comments back at the last minute or wants to implement additional elements. It can even happen

when engineers have already completed the project and production is ready. When working in 3D, the engineer immediately sees whether there is sufficient time and/or physical possibilities to adjust the panel to meet the last-minute wishes. He can easily edit previously entered data and quickly gain insight into the level of adjustments that need to be made.

This means that the project can still be forwarded to production without any problems. When it comes to last-minute changes, you make an efficiency boost by building a 3D project. Of course, any mechanical changes to, for example, the enclosure door must be possible without the need for a completely new panel.


A free data flow

Designing in 3D helps to break the program structure within the entire panel building process. Pen is no longer needed and data can be opened, enriched or improved at any time and saved again. This free data flow requires a new, digital-first vision within the organization.

It is of the utmost importance that the different departments reinforce each other based on this vision by ensuring that the as-build version is an exact version of what engineering has agreed with the customer. Any improvements in the assembly must always be processed immediately in the drawings and diagrams.

Deploy staff more efficiently

Traditional panel construction is highly dependent on technical personnel, but technical people are increasingly difficult to find. Thanks to applications such as Smart Wiring and Thermal Design, but also with standard engineering programs such as Therm and Clip-Project, design errors can already be detected during engineering.

The physical manufacturability is already tested when using 3D applications. As a result, less technically skilled colleagues can use the (digitally) supplied documentation to quickly see how the panel must be assembled and wired. The choices made are therefore also easier to understand.

Save time with Smart Wiring

Wiring is the most time-consuming job. It takes on average 49 percent of the total production time and requires well-trained technicians. Thanks to Smart Wiring, a program that provides step-by-step instructions, wiring work can also be done by people without specific prior knowledge. Think of self-employed people who do not come from a technical sector and who form a 'flexible layer' for organizations during production peaks.

Thanks to Smart Wiring, maximum digital wiring support is also provided from your digital design. This means that wiring data from engineering can be copied one-on-one, without a media break, the associated error probability, and interpreted by wire-making machines.

smart wiring

Thermal Design and Rittal Therm

Critical components must not get too hot. Right from the start, Rittal Therm helps engineers to choose the right and most energy-efficient cooling system solution. With just a simple click, it makes a complex calculation based on the data from EPLAN Pro Panel, with which potential overheating is detected in time.

Thermal Design helps to place these climate control components optimally. Areas that are too hot - hotspots - are prevented because designers are warned about this in advance. This allows the components to be positioned correctly and within the reach of a cold air stream.

The benefits of 3D design:

  • Easily implement last-minute changes
  • Report design errors on time and automatically
  • Create one data flow for engineering and production
  • Deploy technical staff more efficiently
  • Make the best use of Smart Wiring, Thermal Design and Rittal Therm

Download Control Cabinet Manufacturing 4.0 Study

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