CT takes a further step towards Industry 4.0 with the successful outcome of the Plug&Play R&D project.

CT, the leading engineering company in technological innovation throughout the entire product lifecycle, has successfully completed Plug&Play, an R&D project in collaboration with EURECAT Technological Centre, supported by ACCIO through NUCLIS programme. The investigation aimed at taking a forward step in Virtual Commissioning development in order to achieve its widespread use within validation processes of automatic installations and therefore to allow time and costs saving.

Plug&Play enables the Virtual Commissioning throughout a process which carries out a complete test of the manufacturing systems prior to the first start-up of the production plant. This way, the code for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) can be adjusted before implementing it in a physical plant to avoid the standard error-and-trial automation processes. This helps increasing productivity for both system integrators and manufacturers.

The whole application has been performed on an automatic installation consisting of a robotic arm operating in an assembly line, specially designed for this project and built in collaboration with EURECAT. The robot was meant to carry out different functions such as picking up, moving and inspecting different elements on the assembly line.

The whole system, including the PLC, has been virtually modelled and optimized according to the performance goals. Consequently, the programming of both the robot and the PLC has been installed, so as the manufacturing plant just became operative and ready to use.

“This is a major breakthrough for CT and the participating companies, as we are able to provide Virtual Commissioning technology and achieve operational plants, even before they become real. “Plug&Play” whose name is meant to suggest efficiency and immediacy, is mainly aimed at proving the workability of automatic installations with no need of design iterations and changes based on the error-and-trial inefficient system. Moreover, this project provided us key capacities and granted us the opportunity to take this state-of-the-art technology to areas such as autonomous robots in Industry 4.0, throughout a new investigation, called TRREX”, says Xavier Vera, Manufacturing Engineering Business Unit Manager at CT Barcelona Site.

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