KHS GmbH is consistently further developing its virtual line design program to include 3D visualization and a virtual reality (VR) environment. By linking up 3D programs and offer software all designs for orders and select customer offers can be created and displayed in 3D.
A product data management or PDM system also networks planners and design engineers. Changes to the design become visible in the planning model and errors are ruled out. Customers benefit from a much shorter planning phase and more efficient on-site installation compared to standard 2D line design.
"On our 3D projection screens or Powerwalls the optimum line sequence and setup of machines are jointly planned with the customer. For example, we can recognize together in advance where there might be any collisions with third-party machinery in the production shop," says Thomas Riedel, head of Simulation and Virtual Reality at KHS.
Since its launch in 2009 KHS has consistently developed its 3D line design program further and now offers mobile systems for visualization on customer premises. In the intercompany development of lines and machines international KHS design teams profit from that fact that the VR systems communicate with one another.
Behind the recording of the local situation at a customer site lie a number of complex processes. 3D laser scanning of 20 to 200 positions is required to gain a seamless image of the customer's environment, also in order that all shadow areas are logged – those areas which may be hidden by the existing plant infrastructure or suchlike.
What is also crucial is that the 3D planning models of machines and conveying systems are managed and made available for virtual line design. "We have to make sure that we have the right 3D planning model on hand for every single 3D design model in the entire KHS machine program," says Riedel. This represents the machine in every possible formation for all variants and ordering options including the development history.
KHS uses design engineering methods it has developed itself which ensure that the design model is semiautomatically linked up to the planning model through the PDM system.
Changes to the design are made visible in the planning model and can then be updated in the 3D plan by a click of the mouse. "The system planner is thus directly linked to the designer through the PDM system – and planning errors are ruled out," says Riedel.
Customers benefit from this holistic planning, as the planning phase is considerably shortened. Unanswered questions can be clarified more quickly thanks to the 3D environment and on-site installation is much more efficient. KHS is currently working on virtual training scenarios for site personnel prior to assembly.
This enables them to go through the individual work processes virtually so that they are better prepared for installation on site. VR simulation helps to provide simple access to and clearly visualize complex topics.
KHS GmbH has also further developed its modular Innoline MES system of production management. Using standard software which has been specially adapted for the beverage industry users are given a customized overview of the entire beverage filling processes.
New features include a track-and-trace module for detailed material tracking and recording of material consumption and extended functions for line monitoring and order management. With its integrated turnkey IT system KHS is moving one step further towards the digitized smart factory in the sense of Industry 4.0.
"In further developing Innoline MES we've been chiefly guided by the requirements of the brewing industry. As the number of items to be filled grows, it's becoming increasingly important for breweries to permanently transmit the current production situation to their SAP ERP system," says Wolfgang Heßelmann, the product expert responsible for Innoline MES at KHS.
Innoline MES controls and records the production processes in real time, permitting material availability to be precisely planned and materials to be ordered in good time in the ERP system. The bigger the product portfolio, the more important this aspect becomes, as product changeovers due to material shortages during production mean time lost through conversion of the equipment.
With the help of the fully revised standard interface to the ERP system Innoline MES is particularly flexible and can also be integrated into existing plant technology. The interface downloads production orders from the user's ERP system and reports back on production orders, scheduling changes and material consumption.
The KHS Group is one of the leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage, food and non-food industries. The KHS Group includes the following companies, among others: KHS GmbH, KHS Corpoplast GmbH, KHS Plasmax GmbH and NMP Systems GmbH.
KHS GmbH manufactures modern filling and packaging systems at its headquarters in Dortmund, Germany, and in Kleve, Bad Kreuznach and Worms. The KHS Group's PET expertise is pooled at KHS Corpoplast and KHS Plasmax in Hamburg, Germany, where light PET packaging and innovative coating systems are developed and produced. NMP Systems GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KHS GmbH based in Düsseldorf in Germany, designs and markets new, resource-saving packaging systems for PET bottles.
The Group has an international production and service network. In 2015 KHS was awarded the Top 100 seal of approval for exceptional innovative power and outstanding innovative success among German SMEs. In 2015 the KHS Group and its 4,871 employees achieved a turnover of around €1.17 billion within the Salzgitter consolidation. The companies in the KHS Group are 100% subsidiaries of the MDAX-listed Salzgitter AG corporation.