Maximise the full potential of automation


Systems are becoming increasingly complex, and unforeseen problems can delay commissioning and ultimately increase the overall costs of a project enormously. Virtual commissioning offers numerous advantages for solving problems at an early stage and ensuring planned completion. Among other things, it makes it possible to test and optimise the automation system in advance, even before it is built and used in the real world. Function and performance tests, as well as critical states such as fault resolution after malfunctions, are simulated. This allows specific statements to be made about the behaviour of the system as early as the development phase, such as the design of the buffer sections to avoid idling. Because one thing is clear: the system must be efficient!

What is virtual commissioning?

A virtual image of the machine or system to be developed is created in special, powerful software. The system to be simulated is modelled realistically using engineering data from layout and electrical planning as well as 3D design data. The aim is to create a 3D simulation of the overall system with identical behaviour to the (future) real machine. Practical experience has shown that a gantry loader system, for example, can be visualised within a few days, as an interactive 3D simulation can convey behaviour patterns much better than a stack of documents. In addition, machine processing times can be simulated, which is particularly difficult in the case of long running times in real operation. This significantly reduces misunderstandings regarding customer objectives, system behaviour and the necessary information between the customer and the engineering team. Another advantage is the unlimited availability of workpieces and material containers, as these are often not available in the real world, which means that a complete performance test is only possible in the production environment. However, it is then often difficult to find sufficient time for optimisation.

With simulated performance tests, project realisation is faster and more efficient.
  • The work steps are carried out in parallel
  • From the basic concept to a detailed visualisation
  • Using real control software and control systems
What competitive advantage do you have with virtual commissioning?

The advantages of virtual commissioning are not least the time and therefore financial benefits of real plant commissioning. Throughput times during commissioning are effectively minimised, while the quality of the systems and machines is optimised. Last but not least, the virtual commissioning process makes it easier to simulate complex processes in real time. The defined load and fault scenarios provide reliable and comparable results – without any dependence on the operator of the simulation model. This makes it possible to train plant operators during the simulation, even before the plant has been completed. This also speeds up the commissioning process enormously.

  • Ensuring compliance with project objectives
  • Testing specific critical situations without damaging the machine or system
  • Reducing the overall development time of the automation steps
  • Design of buffer sections (so that no idle times are generated)
  • Optimisation of material flow
  • Unlimited availability of workpieces and material containers
  • Shorter start-up times during production run-up
What are the work phases of virtual commissioning?

The work stages of virtual commissioning are carried out in parallel, typically in several loops, starting with “rough” modelling and ending with a refined virtual representation of the system with sufficient accuracy. At the same time, the same control system and the same control software are used both in the simulation and in the real automation system. In practice, this means that a PLC or the robot control hardware of the real system is also used in the virtual commissioning.

  • A kinematic, real-time-capable virtual system model is created on the basis of 3D CAD data, circuit diagram and the PLC programme
  • Virtual commissioning according to customer-specific test scenarios
  • Test results are easily reproducible thanks to defined simulation scenarios


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