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1st Machine Design User Conference How Modern Machine Concepts Succeed

Author / Editor: Ute Drescher / Janina Seit

On June 5, 2018, konstruktionspraxis organizes the 1st Machine Design User Conference. The aim of the congress is to present methods and technologies that facilitate the construction of modern machines.

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The focus of the 1st Machine Design User Conference is on the practical exchange between participants, speakers and exhibitors.
The focus of the 1st Machine Design User Conference is on the practical exchange between participants, speakers and exhibitors.
(Source: ©Eisenhans / Jacob Lund / bubushonok - stock.adobe.com / VCG)

More than ever before, availability, productivity, flexibility, and time-to-market of machines and systems will decide on the competitiveness of many companies. In order to achieve these goals and keep staying ahead of the game, completely new technologies are available in addition to the traditional ones. For instance, machine availability can be increased by using predictive maintenance and productivity can be enhanced by using smart components. The flexibility of a machine, often referred to as adaptability, enables the mass production of individualized products with short changeover times, less effort and reasonable investment costs. This requires the use of modular machine concepts and decentralized components.

It All Begins with the Draft

For designers and developers, the work starts with the draft. At this stage, interdisciplinary exchange with other departments, such as electrical design or software engineers, is already advisable. Customers are also involved in the development phase much earlier than it was the case a few years ago. In addition, powerful software tools are now available to support the designer in the planning process and to perform calculations. Simulation and virtual commissioning provide information about the behavior of the later product or machine in the real world at a very early stage.

Against this backdrop, the design engineer's area of responsibility is also changing considerably. The Acatech (Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften) describes the requirements profile as follows: "Designers... have to be creative and continually deal with new materials and technologies. In addition to traditional design know-how such as machine elements and materials, functional groups, manufacturing and assembly technology, construction methods, solution finding systems and spatial imagination, they are increasingly required to have computer science and programming skills as well as qualifications in electrical engineering and mechatronics. The construction of systems is done by combining this knowledge."

Construction Methods and Tools

With the 1st User Conference Machine Design, konstruktionspraxis wants to support designers and developers in identifying methods, tools and components for the construction of modern machines that are most suitable for their tasks and requirements, strengthen their competences and create scope for more creativity.

The focus of the event is on practical exchange. Thus, the keynote speech not only shows how the job description is changing, but also gives a concrete example of how new approaches have changed the development process at a machine manufacturing company. Another keynote address deals with the opportunities and challenges mechanical and plant engineers face in the digital development of smart products. In this context, simulation is becoming increasingly important, as it can drastically accelerate development periods. Therefore, it reduces time-to-market, as shown at the event in a practical example from the industry.

In addition, machines in modern factories are no longer ”on their own”. Instead they are a part of the entire production process. For this reason, networking will also be a topic at the machine design user conference: Another presentation will deal with the M2M communication protocol OPC-UA, which is used by many manufacturers.

Similar to the development process, the focus of the four practical forums mirrors the needs of developers. They range from agile development methods for hardware and digital engineering with the associated tools such as simulation, digital twin or virtual commissioning to smart components such as decentralized drive technology, which makes modular machine concepts possible.

The congress is complemented by an exhibition, which provides an opportunity for direct exchange with experts from different research institutions, manufacturers and participants.

This article was first published by konstruktionspraxis.

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