Automating Design in Automotive Manufacturing to Boost Productivity

Henrob, a provider of advanced self-pierce riveting, offers creative products and joining solutions to customers all around the world.

The company achieves its philosophy of designing reliable, robust production solutions through 3D computer aided engineering (CAE) software, which facilitates comprehensive modeling of tools and product access studies.

Self-piercing riveting is a relatively new but widely adopted form of mechanical joining, ideal for sheet material joints. The technique is especially suitable for the joining of aluminum, coated materials and dissimilar materials. Henrob offers its solutions to several key automakers, including Aston Martin, Land Rover, and Jaguar, especially benefiting high performance vehicles due to being fabricated from lightweight materials.

EPLAN Solutions at Henrob

Henrob offers a comprehensive service, including the design, fabrication, supply and installation of self-pierce riveting equipment and the fabrication and supply of self-pierce rivets and studs. The company designs all of its tools, stands, cabinets, magazine tools, and accessories with EPLAN software.

Henrob currently employs EPLAN Electric P8, a solution offering unlimited opportunities in interdisciplinary electrical engineering; the EPLAN Data Portal; and EPLAN Fluid, which facilitates fluid engineering with automated documentation.

Antony Evans, Advanced Engineering team leader at Henrob, recommended EPLAN to the company. When Evans joined the firm in 2001, Henrob was utilizing AutoCAD, which was very time intensive. With an increasing requirement to use electrical schematics in its projects, especially for clients like Jaguar, Evans convinced Henrob to migrate to EPLAN 5.4 in 2003. This resulted in a dramatic increase in productivity, with a 100% increase in efficiency as design time was shortened from four weeks to two weeks.

Advantages of EPLAN Solutions

In 2011, Henrob switched to EPLAN Electric P8, witnessing a 10% increase in productivity; reduction in engineering costs owing to a typical project; and improved and more reliable documentation. Henrob has also achieved several operational improvements, including the reduction or elimination of errors, quicker and more-consistent document creation, and greater documentation for field service.

EPLAN has greatly benefited especially the engineering team with its novel features, including automatic BOM creation, plugs and sockets referencing, and terminal interconnecting diagrams. EPLAN has also been used for drawing. According to Applications Engineer Phil Ackerley, the following are the key benefits afforded by EPLAN at Henrob:

  • Encouraged best practices and made improvements in several areas
  • Enabled offering quicker, more accurate project quotes and generating more-consistent documentation
  • Facilitated faster integration of customer-specific changes and data corrections

In addition, EPLAN converts to PDF documents, which enables links to other documents within the schematic, thereby providing access to all key data at the click of a button.

The EPLAN Data Portal

The EPLAN Data Portal delivers online device data of more than 340,000 components from more than 51 manufacturers, including Phoenix Contact, B&R, ABB and Festo. Consequently, the data portal has provided another opportunity for productivity improvement, thanks to the immediate availability of the wealth of information.

With the EPLAN Data Portal, it is convenient and effective to transfer order numbers for procurement, location drawings for equipment, technical macros for creating schematics, preview screens and function templates for intelligent device selection into the project. This effectively eliminates the time intensive process of creating master data.

EPLAN’s Service and Support

Aftersales service was also crucial for Henrob, not only for the quality of initial training and follow-up help desk support, but also for effectively using EPLAN's rich menu of standard features and optional add-ons. Henrob's customers have also noted the improvements achieved in documentation quality. They have also gained from Henrob's ability to draw different product configurations to show the potential of new configurations in the improvement of their end products.

Conclusion

With EPLAN's industry-leading design platform, Henrob has improved business efficiency, productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. In addition, EPLAN has minimized data ambiguity and nearly eliminated design error.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by EPLAN.

For more information on this source, please visit EPLAN.

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