Volkswagen integrates newest Eplan and Rittal solutions

VASS Standard: now expanded with 3D functionality and state-of-the-art control cabinet technology.

Volkswagen has recently released the sixth generation of its VASS (Volkswagen Audi Seat Skoda) Standard, which includes an update to Eplan Version 2.9. The standard - used in production plants for models on the MEB platform - has also been expanded with 3D functionality in switchgear system engineering and with data for bi-directional exchange with PLC project planning tools. The new VX25 control cabinet system from Rittal has additionally been integrated into the standard.

Volkswagen's decision to start providing its suppliers with 3D data based on Eplan Pro Panel in the VASS standard libraries means that the complete digital twins of control cabinets and the installed components can be depicted. Previously, only 2D representations from Eplan Electric P8 were included in the standard. For suppliers, this creates the foundation for entering into and expanding automated manufacturing steps in control cabinet and switchgear system engineering: from mechanical NC machining to automated terminal assembly to wire processing and wiring support. Companies benefit from the fully developed design templates provided by Volkswagen that can be used as a basis for faster and higher-quality system engineering, manufacturing and commissioning.

Uniform plant system documentation
Eplan Strategic Account Manager Andreas Bamberg explains: "The additional 3D functionality from Eplan Pro Panel makes it possible to directly derive manufacturing information for automated control cabinet and switchgear system engineering. Engineering offices further benefit from the integrated collision check and thermal power dissipation considerations for components, enabling optimised component placement in the cabinet and a more energy-efficient design for Rittal climate control systems."
An extra benefit: the addition of key control technology information to the device and project data enables completely bi-directional data exchange between Eplan (hardware engineering) and the Siemens TIA Portal (software project planning) using the AML interface. "This considerably reduces the efforts required in engineering and for system planning since the PLC hardware structures,
pre-defined inputs and outputs and bus topologies can be imported directly from Eplan, not to mention the exact port wiring," Bamberg says. During plant system operations and for later modifications or expansions, the information from TIA Portal can be fed back into the Eplan Project. This ensures uniform, error-free plant system documentation "as built" and shorter entry processes for integration into digital production management.

State-of-the-art control cabinet technology
Rittal, with its large control cabinets and small enclosures, has been a part of Volkswagen's corporate standard for years, just like Eplan. As Global Key Account Manager Automotive Markus Hülsmann at Rittal says: "The current release of the VASS V6 library delivers fully integrated reference control cabinets in 3D based on the new Rittal VX25 control cabinet system." It also includes fully integrated enclosure accessories and ten variants of the AirSTREAM mounting frame from the company Friedrich Lütze, which can be selected directly from a list of accessories and placed as a complete macro. Hülsmann continues, "This considerably reduces the work required in engineering since the components can start being placed directly in the cabinet after just a few clicks." Future VASS releases will include libraries expansions with the Rittal AX and KS enclosures and the respective sample assemblies. Associated enclosure macros in 3D are already available in Eplan Data Portal and can be used when designing with Pro Panel.

The goal: digital manufacturing
Automobile production is becoming increasingly challenging, including ever shorter start-up times, individualised design efforts, new control technologies and high demands on maintenance and repair to name just a few. Volkswagen is diligently working on further developing automation standards, which are then passed down to the company's suppliers. Daniel Gräser in the Division for Manufacturing Automation and Digital Production at Volkswagen says, "This expansion of the VASS Standard with the newest aspects of Eplan's engineering software and Rittal's state-of-the-art system technology means we're ideally supporting our suppliers in realising digital and automated manufacturing processes. At the same time, we are also adding an important component along the path we've started towards the digital factory." After all, the digital twin of the control cabinet as part of the production process is an essential foundation for fully digital operating and maintenance processes of the future.

International service support
Since 2018, Eplan has been offering a three-day VASS V6 Training for suppliers in English and German. It lays the international foundation for successful project planning according to this standard. Along with regular dates in Germany, initial trainings have also been conducted in the US and in China.

Rittal, headquartered in Herborn, Germany, is a leading global provider of solutions for industrial enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure, as well as software and services. Systems made by Rittal are deployed in over 90 per cent of all industries across the world, including machine building and plant engineering, food and beverages, and IT and telecommunications.
The international market leader's product portfolio includes configurable enclosures, with data available across the entire production process. Smart Rittal cooling systems, with up to 75 per cent lower power consumption and high CO2 advantage, can communicate with the production landscape, enabling predictive maintenance and servicing. The offering also includes innovative IT products, from IT racks and modular data centres, to edge and hyperscale computing solutions.
Leading software providers Eplan and Cideon support the value chain, providing interdisciplinary engineering solutions, while Rittal Automation Systems offers solutions for switchgear manufacturing. Within Germany, Rittal can supply products on demand within 24 hours - with precision, flexibility and efficiency.
Founded in 1961, Rittal is the largest company in the owner-operated Friedhelm Loh Group. The Friedhelm Loh Group is active worldwide, with 12 production sites and 96 international subsidiaries. It has approximately 12,100 employees and posted revenues of €2.6 billion in fiscal 2019. In 2020, the family-run business was named one of Germany's leading employers by the Top Employers Institute, for the twelfth year running. Within the scope of a Germany-wide survey, Focus Money magazine identified the Friedhelm Loh Group as one of the nation's best providers of vocational training for the fifth time in 2020.
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EPLAN Software & Service

EPLAN provides software and service solutions in the fields of electrical, automation and mechatronic engineering. The company develops one of the world's leading design software solutions for machine and panel builders. EPLAN is also the ideal partner to streamline challenging engineering processes.
Both standardized as well as customized interfaces to ERP and PLM/PDM systems ensure data consistency along the whole value chain. Working with EPLAN means boundless communication across all engineering disciplines. No matter whether small or large enterprises: Customers can apply their expertise more efficiently. EPLAN wants to grow further with customers and partners and pushes integration and automation in engineering forward. Worldwide, EPLAN supports over 58,000 customers. Efficient engineering" is the focus.
EPLAN was founded in 1984 and is part of the owner-operated Friedhelm Loh Group. The Friedhelm Loh Group operates worldwide with 12 production sites and 96 international subsidiaries. The entire group employs 12,100 people and generated revenues of around €2,6 billion in 2019. For the twelfth time in succession, the family business has won the accolade "Top German Employer" in 2020. In addition Friedhelm Loh Group was recognized as "Top vocational trainer" according to a study of Deutschland Test and Focus Money.

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