Mi5 / Virtual Reality and Real ‘Steel’ side by side

We proudly present you our newest video, where you can see the configuration we used during the SPS IPC drives trade fair.

Side by side you can now compare the simulation in industrialPhysics and the real machine. Don’t get confused, it is not just a nice-to-have feature. It was essential for us, to use the simulation during the development for testing purposes of system-wide aspects.

You can see the following things:

  • No module is visible in the simulation. This means, that the module have not yet been initialized by the process tool, and no position is saved.
  • A virtual module is being initialized. The initialization works in a way, that the mover is passing a sensor (virtual/real) and the module sends back to the XTS a boolean value when the mover passes by.
  • The modules get initialized and, first the Cookie-Module, then one after the other appears in the simulation. Once a module appears, that signalizes, that they now are configured and ready to produce
  • You then will see an order in action.
  • Pay attention to the different colors that the mover is changing to. This is the virtual-reality-mode of the simulation, where a mechanic can see in which state the mover is in. He then would know, if it is save to touch or not.
  • Further you see, that one Cream-Module is missing in the simulation. It has been deactivated on purpose. But nevertheless the machine is able to produce any cookie without error, thanks to our modular approach.

We hope you enjoy the video. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Start UP!

After one week-end of very intensive work, we managed to get all modlues up and running. Thanks to our extensive use of HIL simulation, we could manage the start up with the XTS and the Cookie Module in only three hours. It felt like plug and play.

  • Wiring the modules (Cookie- and Cream-Module) on Thursday and Friday
  • Setting up the modules on Saturday
  • Connecting them on Sunday

While it was the first time, that the modules were actually connected to our Process-Tool, the HMI and the Process-Tool and the simulation were already pretty firm. So on that side, we didn’t have any problems. But still, of course, there is still room for optimization, which we will use, until the fair. The clock is ticking. Less then 7 days!

Have a look at our first successful run:


On the video you see Oliver, how he is ordering a task on our touch panel. The XTS then starts, while Oliver goes to the “Manual Module” view on the HMI. The XTS is getting a cookie, and later Oliver is doing a manual task.

Constant Support – Beckhoff

Today we encountered a little challenge on the XTS programming. Since we load very large configuration files for the OPC UA Server (OPC UA does not let you change the data structure during runtime, therefore we configure it with free space beforehand), the Server had some unpredictable behaviour.

Thanks to our good contact with Beckhoff, Mr. Schätzle, application engineer at Beckhoff, with a lot of expertise in OPC-UA and TwinCAT, came to our office and gave us support. The problem then could be solved within a short time. We used this occasion to show Mr. Schätzle our current setup. He was quite impressed about the latest progress on our project, connecting TwinCAT 3 with Industrial Physics Simulation and the XTS. In our virtual setup we have the modules with motors and sensors, directly interacting with each other and the XTS. It is the first time that he saw, how neat the XTS integration with Industrial Physics works. We also used the time for a little brainstorming to get some input from an expert.

We are glad about the constant supoort by Beckhoff, that fully support us at any time, either through technical components or know how and expertise.

Ps.: Below, you find some impressions of this short visit:

Simulation of the Cookie Module with Industrial Physics

We are working with Industrial Physics to generate our HIL setup. Starting with the first parts of the setup we are developing a digital representation of the cookie module.

The cookie dispenser works in the way, that the rotating disc is moved by a stepping motor. Whenever the cookie comes to the yellow ramp, it falls down by gravity. The simulation uses the same effects. The friction and other details are as close to reality as possible.

We will keep you posted about other modules and simulations.

Please feel free to comment below.