West Chester, Ohio – Fastems LLC has launched three new products to enable educational institutions and manufacturing enterprises to benefit from its advanced Digital Manufacturing (DM) solutions for factory automation. In addition to functioning as a classroom teaching and learning tool, DM enables companies to do training and testing before ramp-up and simulation during production, for example.
With Fastems’ DM solutions, no physical automation system is needed to simulate, educate, or introduce a factory automation system, according to the company, adding that DM offers a cost-effective way to demonstrate and educate stakeholders on new factory automation technology.
“Our new solution enables teaching the theory of flexible manufacturing systems, demonstrating flexibility in manufacturing and the different flexible automation systems, and making classroom sessions more tangible through realistic visualizations,” said Fastems Product Manager Janne Kivinen. “In addition to the benefits for educational institutes, DM brings great financial and productivity benefits to our industrial clients, making it possible to simulate the system effectively before hardware installation.”
Saving Time During Ramp-Up
For instance, a customer may want preparations to be done before the system is delivered, which saves time during ramp-up. Software and layout verification can be done in advance, and detailed simulation and visualization capabilities allow testing options before committing to a certain layout configuration. Employees can be trained in a safe and interactive environment so that training doesn’t disturb ongoing production. In addition, Fastems is developing new features to simulate and analyze alternative production scenarios to make smarter process decisions based on the results.
The new DM offering consists of three options: Virtual MMS (Manufacturing Management Software), Virtual FMS (Flexible Manufacturing System) and Virtual AMC (Agile Manufacturing Cell). Each of these solutions includes access to the software and 24/7 customer support. The Virtual FMS and AMC options include a Visual Components model, a 3D simulation software for manufacturing applications, including layout planning, production simulation, offline programming, and PLC verification, which functions as the manufacturing hardware of the system. All three products can be used as a local installation, and Virtual MMS can also be used as a cloud-based installation.
“Fastems DM is an excellent addition to classroom teaching. This solution allows us the opportunity to provide our students with a supreme learning experience in a classic classroom setting. We have received highly positive feedback on the courses, and we are able to constantly develop and improve our educational capabilities with the help of this system,” said University Instructor Hasse Nylund and Professor Minna Lanz of Tampere University, Finland.
“Fastems Digital Manufacturing products provide a concrete way to bring manufacturing into the virtual world,” said Kivinen. “Better visualization capabilities allow our customers to understand the underlying concepts of our solutions and systems and to use their systems more efficiently. For educational purposes, a hands-on experience is extremely valuable and hard to achieve for such large and complex systems, so bringing them virtually into the classroom is a great alternative.”
The DM concept is the first step towards developing a true Digital Twin for Fastems automation solutions, which will translate into better maintenance and production efficiency to the users of the system, according to the company. In the future, Digital Twins will allow following the system, its parameters, and everything it interacts with for the entire lifecycle of the system, enabling better tools for production optimization, maintenance and intelligent manufacturing.