Digital workflows and modern analysis tools simplify business processes
Savings potential due to the elimination of travel, enormous time savings and low risk of infection in times of pandemics: These three reasons speak for the TRAPO Digital Hub. Mechanical engineering is completing the digital mapping of its analog world. Every component and every plant receives a digital twin – and thus becomes a digital image of the hardware. The hub bundles TRAPO-specific tools that provide online support for commissioning, predictive maintenance and service issues. Teams of experts worked with RWTH Aachen University to develop and implement the TRAPO Digital Hub. The aim is to achieve significantly higher, more effective and safer processes in an automated environment with virtual processes.
A key topic at TRAPO Technikum, the research and development center, is digitization and how it can be used to customers’ advantage. Here, the team of specialists relies on simulations on digital twins, which replace tests with real prototypes. With the TRAPO Digital Hub, TRAPO AG presents a complex solution with which workflows are carried out virtually to automate business processes and significantly simplify the commissioning of plants thanks to digital twins. Biographies of components and complete plants are networked in real time. Consequently, the digital twin reflects not only the structure but also the behavior of the individual process steps. Data collected in TIM, the TRAPO Intelligent Management System, enables simulations on digital prototypes, which saves money and time on the customer and manufacturer side.
In the case of the TRAPO Digital Hub, ten sub-processes were created that build on each other and together represent the digital workflow:
- Digital price negotiation
In the area of price negotiation, digital processes save time and resources when communicating with customers and suppliers. In the process, video meetings replace (long-distance) travel for personal coordination cycles and prevent the risk of contagion in times of pandemic.
- Digital contract signing & order confirmation
Contracts can be signed digitally by the customer and returned online. The same applies to order confirmations in real time. Here, too, personal contacts and travel are eliminated, and processes are streamlined.
- Meeting to review the 3D design
Only those who have a complete view of the plant can design it for maximum efficiency right from the start. That is why TRAPO AG develops 3D models during the planning phase to design the plant according to the customer’s requirements. The discussions for this take place in confidential video chats.
These time-saving meetings enable errors to be identified and solutions to individual tasks to be found well before the physical implementation of production facilities, thus saving additional costs and resources.
- Process simulation
All processes, relevant characteristics and performance cycles of individual sequences up to the entire plant can be virtually mapped in the TRAPO Digital Hub. Especially at time-critical interfaces, processes are run through, compared and optimized in real time on the digital twin. Various variables can be integrated into this simulation to show processes under different conditions and prepare them for as many situations as possible. For example, the efficiency and speed of different overall plant sections can be demonstrated. With the acceptance of the animated process simulation, the customer receives the certainty that his plant will be installed in the agreed form in a reduced time.
- Remote factory acceptance test
In the past, the factory acceptance test took place on site in Gescher-Hochmoor before the plants were delivered. Today, the FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) can already be carried out remotely, with modern information technologies replacing global travel activities.
Factory acceptance is supported by a web-based meeting platform, mobile cameras, and hands-free tools for cost-effective remote collaboration that allow project partners to complete all steps of the FAT.
- Remote commissioning
During remote commissioning, service tools support the team on site so that customers and project partners can carry out all steps under guidance with the aid of VR goggles in order to commission the machines independently.
Via video chat, users on the customer side and TRAPO specialists find each other. The advantage of remote control is not limited to commissioning, but can be extended to retrofit situations and repair scenarios.
“The virtual commissioning convinced us and offers considerable savings potential on the customer side, for example for trips with service teams staying for several days. The TRAPO AG team was connected online and the plant was commissioned jointly,” praises Andrei Makshakov, Managing Director of SWEMA / Moscow.
- Virtual training
With the help of virtual training, participants are immersed in the simulated environment of the plant to be operated. Live instruction, HMI simulations, training videos – as individual as the plant in question – and virtual inspection of individual components are available digitally for customers to ensure that operators contribute to the overall efficiency of the plant and optimized production rates.
- Real-time visualization & monitoring
Modern data management systems are a decisive factor for process efficiency and top quality. TIM, the TRAPO Intelligent Management System that can be used in any industry, can be configured by the customer.
TIM goes far beyond condition-based monitoring, the continuous monitoring of the operation-critical values of plants: Based on the information obtained, optimizations in production can be easily implemented and contribute to achieving maximum performance at the machine.
With the tool, companies can keep an eye on their key production figures in real time: Information about plant conditions and plant sections or plant-specific evaluations are available at all times across all locations.
- Maintenance support with digital purchase card
The service team receives inquiries and requests through a ticket system as an online transaction file; response and resolution are also digital. Standard spare parts are stored in TIM. Spare parts are also ordered at the click of a mouse via TIM’s shopping cart.
- Predictive Maintenance – Preventive Maintenance
With the help of TIM, there are lower costs, optimal personnel planning and the minimization of downtimes, because the system enables predictive maintenance by specifying needs-based maintenance work and care of technical equipment. The goal is to keep the entire plant in optimal operating condition and prevent downtime.
TRAPO AG’s self-service portals (Self-Service) provide access to the company’s complex service knowledge via TIM: online service documents, up-to-date manuals, FAQs, and interactive instructions for the HMI operating level.