Selecting appropriate product data
Selecting appropriate product data in engineering is often time consuming. However, EPLAN says its new Data Portal, with a new user interface and improved search algorithms, makes it easier and faster than ever before.
The company says expanded search parameters mean that users can quickly find exactly the components they are looking for. Individualised solutions based on configurators can be intuitively generated – as demonstrated by the Lenze product configurator.
The new EPLAN Platform is on the verge of being released and will also mark the moment when the EPLAN Data Portal will exclusively be available for use in the EPLAN ePulse cloud environment. The platform’s updated user interface offers numerous enhancements for searching for and finding device data. Improved search algorithms and parameters make it much easier for users to quickly find the appropriate components to download. Increased system performance also ensures greater speed when selecting components. Another new feature is the integration of the Lenze product configurator.
Configurators streamline product selection
Lenze director of team processes and data Bernd Spiegel explains: “The direct integration of our product configurator into the new EPLAN Platform lets customers very quickly find the product they need. There’s no need to search for devices in extensive lists and customers get the devices that match their requirements. Aside from which, this cooperation also provides benefits for Lenze as a manufacturer of many products and variants. Maintaining the data for the configurator in EPLAN Electric P8 is much easier for us than doing that for all the distinct variants of a product series.”
A real life example: A user needs a frequency inverter. Using the Lenze Easy Product Finder, said user needs just a few steps to find a suitable device from the company’s i550 series of devices. The defining characteristics such as rated power, supply network type, and the type of fieldbus network are included as selection criteria. Once users have decided on a particular device based on these parameters, the associated EPLAN data can be generated in the detail view and then imported into the CAE solution’s device management.
Around three million data sets available on the portal
The configurators of additional manufacturers, including Endress+Hauser, Bosch Rexroth and Rittal, all work in a similar way. This makes each manufacturer portfolio easily accessible to design engineers. Selecting devices and acquiring high quality data is easy and intuitive. The data is up to date and can be transferred directly into projects. Similarly to configuring features for a new car, users are guided through the various product families of the assorted manufacturers. Integrating configurators doesn’t just expand the data available in the portal (more than 1 million data sets) by approximately two million configurable variants, it also makes it easier for users to compile high quality device data.
In addition, there are selectors from Aventics, IPF and Schneider Electric that ensure fast product selection. There’s no question that the data is correct thanks to the targeted narrowing of selections via search parameters. This portfolio will soon be expanded with the offerings from two additional well known global players – meaning users have even more to look forward to.
EPLAN Data Standard becoming entrenched
More than one third of the data on the portal already conforms to the new, high quality Data Standard, and solutions provider EPLAN has set further ambitious goals: half of all the device data should meet the Data Standard by the end of 2022, if possible. This calls for further commitments from device manufacturers, many of whom are recognising the benefits of having 100 percent digital data. Big players that have been pioneers in this in the international arena include Chint (China), IFM, Pilz, Rittal and SMC (Europe), Numatics (USA) and Omron (Japan).
Pilz vice president customer support international Arndt Christ says: “We’re pleased that we can now offer our customers high quality engineering data. In 2020, we decided to create our Pilz product macros to conform with the EPLAN Data Standard. The data standardisation that is currently possible, which makes using the macros easier, benefits our inhouse engineering departments in our affiliated companies and, externally, our customers around the globe. While macros previously had to be inserted into designs using value sets, today it can be accomplished using a functional template. The benefits include improved networking of data – for instance between 2D and 3D – fewer errors because the wiring connections are precisely defined, and time savings above all because the macros are standardised. The new Data Standard, particularly the functional template, is a mark of quality for our macros and meets our expectations for high quality data. We have a dependable partner for the future in EPLAN, someone we can work with to continue advancing this approach.”
EPLAN director cloud business master data Timm Hauschke says: “The aspiration for high quality from the manufacturers coincides with the demands of our users. After all, only comprehensive, integrated, end to end data forms the foundation for the digital twin, which provides information for processes and to machines along all the stations of the process, from design engineering to manufacturing. The EPLAN Data Standard is being implemented worldwide since its introduction. Our goal is for device data to be available 100% digitally, thus providing the ideal foundation for highly efficient engineering.”