Right 3D Tools for the Job
Proving mechanical engineered designs has traditionally been through the painstaking processes of drafting the design, calculating through puts, speeds and feeds, factoring power consumptions and motor ratings, also ensuring variances of size, weight and material are considered.
When the design reaches the engineering shop floor mistakes or miscalculations become very costly, even more so when the machinery or plant item reaches the customers site.
Based in Sheffield England, Materials Handling Company, Robson, found that time taken perfecting the design, adding in the variances and looking at alternatives would save time and money at the build and commissioning stages giving the customer.
Many systems and projection models have been utilised over the years, Robson kept pace with these, ensuring they used the best 3D modelling software to project and predict the actions of mechanically moved items within the baggage hall environment.
The software enables engineers to witness real time scenarios, identifying bottlenecks, blockage points and highlighting speed and timing issues. Having the facility to tweak a single conveyor and test the theory within the design department has saved a countless number of hours on site commissioning.
Engineers found that existing airport systems could be modelled and simulated to identify problem areas, where as in the past, companies may have replaced the entire system because of bottle necks and miss feeds and varying speeds, with the system simulated, the engineers could see that only the problem areas needed attention. Changing the speed of a single conveyor could solve the bottleneck ensuring the baggage flowed through the system flawlessly.
When Airports expand the old part of the baggage system still has to perform, even when integrated to a new baggage system, ensuring a smooth transition and complete compatibility is always the prime task for the simulation engineers. The airports original baggage system is modelled and the capacities of each conveyor inputted. The proposed system was also modelled overlaying and integrating each system, identifying the problem areas, then solving the problems with simulated solutions that are easily transferable to the actual conveyor system.
Identifying the through puts also included the human factor, when a handling or loading operation needs to be performed manually the manpower and timing could be factored, too slow and people are waiting around with nothing to do, if the system is too fast for the handlers that creates a multitude of problems. Careful interrogation of the system could identify the optimum number of operators to ensure the smooth flow of baggage.
Baggage Handling System Engineers with vast experience of the Airport industry underlined by the complex simulations generated by the simulation team has shown many worldwide successes. Closely following on from the successful use within the airport industry, the simulation system was used for other industries, again with great successes.
Robson's team of Simulation Engineers found that almost any type of conveyed material could be simulated, with modular units showing the best results. He stated that, “Palletised or packaged products, packaged food stuffs, parcels or assemblies can be modelled and simulated, each with its own peculiarities and site variances, the model can show the best solution for the customer, often saving them thousands of pounds from their original specification”.
Some of the areas where the Simulation software has been utilised, are the feed in to or from automatic warehousing systems, Automatic cold store processes, Self propelled vehicle or robot routes and polymer foam handling systems. Each case bespoke, with each solution unique to that operation.
Robson often use the simulation software in house to prove a new process or prototype, enabling the concept to be proven before further design work is started, the 3D layout and AVI film clips ensure the project is also understood by other design engineers also giving the customer a full visual presentation of the intended project often securing follow up orders for conveyor systems.
Robson also use the software to verify the PLC programming, interfaces between the model and PLC can show programming errors and or glitches well before the system goes live. Saving on commissioning and site time.
Robson Handling Technology Ltd
Coleford Road, Sheffield, S9 5PA
Tel: +44 (0) 114 2444221
Published on LinkedIn November 2015
"Robson is one of the leading UK Conveyor Manufacturers, offering service and value through its Conveyor products and services".