Software for Fluid Power Technology
The purpose of the Software Review section of the Journal is to present information to the reader about engineering software, including simulation programs, to highlight their specific features and their "fitness to purpose" in the unique field of fluid power and motion control. It is, of course, impossible to establish evaluation criteria matching the needs of all readers, therefore readers should not look for absolute ratings but more or less "fuzzy" opinions of the reviewer. A software program is like a wrench, just a tool to solve problems. It is good to solve some problems and not so good for others and this depends on both the nature of the problem and the users' attitude - and generally when we review software we do not know either. A software tool can be highly specialised and great for a some applications but not so well suited for others, on the other hand another software tool can be more flexible and generally applicable but without outstanding features. It is impossible, and even misleading, to say which one is better. What we hope to accomplish is to give the reader information necessary to take his/her own decision.
Simulation and Animation of fluid power and controls systems,
from design to service and training
The purpose of the following review is to expose the reader to the Automation Studio software solution
for fluid power and controls systems design, simulation, service, and training by first comparing the solution
to current means and further describing its the technical features.
Manufacturers, OEMs and systems solution providers involved in the development and implementation of
products/projects consisting of fluid power and control systems rely typically on a large number of tools to
cover the whole products/projects lifecycle. Despite the fact that they provide useful features for specific tasks
within the products/projects documentation process, those tools are most of the time labor intensive, may
require more advanced operator skills, and lack the integration level required for easy and seamless communication
between the various project teams involved.
Thus, the lack of integration is compensated by extra labor and overlapping efforts in order to format data
to be exploited for the various tasks (engineering, training, service, maintenance, technology deployment,
technical publication, etc.). This results in low productivity, profit losses, stretched time to market, and a lack
of competitiveness in a global market.
Typically, engineers use high-end CAD packages and/or low capability 2D sketching software to do the
design and document their systems. They sometimes rely on in-house calculation tools to perform component
selection. To benefit from their computer systems and optimize the prototyping process, some organizations
use expensive simulation tools operated by highly qualified specialists, and requiring labor intensive setup
to test and validate designs.
Upon system completion or product roll out, information is forwarded downstream to service/technical
publication/training departments. Engineering data is then processed independently by each of them in order
to produce the documentation and material necessary to deploy a product/project. These involve the production
of manuals, animations using CBT editing software, multimedia animation production, etc.
Automation Studio is a unique solution that is meant for all steps in the deployment of fluid power
and automated systems including:
- Design engineering
- Technical publications
- Simulation, testing
- CAE sizing product selection
- Equipment maintenance
- Service and troubleshooting
Fig. 1: Automation Studio is a complete project/product
lifecycle support solution
Automation Studio offers in one single common environment a unique combination of user friendly
system design features, advanced engineering capabilities, a dynamic and realistic simulation, powerful animation,
and flexible documentation features. It brings a new dimension to help manufacturers optimize the
overall system implementation and deployment process. Automation Studio meets the needs of each field of
expertise (design engineering, prototyping, testing, technical publications, troubleshooting, maintenance,
and training), while providing a seamless integration to help the communication and production of proper
documentation covering the entire equipment lifecycle.
Fig. 2: Automation Studio covers fluid power thoroughly as
well as all other related technologies involved in a
- Industrial hydraulics systems
- Industrial pneumatics systems
- Mobile hydraulics systems
- Electrical controls systems
- PLC controls applications
- Automated controls applications
Automation Studio’s schematic design environment features a user friendly interface which reduces the
need for training as well as the time to implement drawings sometimes by a threefold. Automation Studio
features simple drag and drop functions to place library symbols onto the multi-layered/multi page project
workspace. Design is accelerated as engineers do not have to actually make symbols libraries and make
complex models themselves. Automation Studio’s symbol libraries already contain thousands of symbols
compliant with ISO, IEC and JIC standards, as well as entire ranges of major manufacturers’ components
(Bosch Rexroth A10, A4V, Parker P2, P3, Sauer Danfoss pumps and motors, Kawasaki, etc). Users select
the appropriate symbol, drag and drop them on the work space from provided extensive and customizable
libraries. Users interconnect symbol together by extending pressure and pilot lines from one to the next.
These lines remain attached even when components are moved.
Fig. 3: Scenarios can be created as a function of time, position or force due to devices such as joysticks,
steering wheels, PID controllers or measuring devices.
To speed up the design process, the component properties dialog box allows users to quickly assign or
import various types of information to all components such as identifiers, descriptions, part numbers, etc. User
defined fields can be added to any symbol to customize documentation in concordance with their working environment.
By using the Bill of Material module, users can quickly extract project data to create complete project
documentation and save a significant amount of time in preparing costing and quotations.
To accelerate the design of systems, physical parameters like piston diameter, stroke or rod diameter
can be easily entered and cylinders, hoses, pumps or valves for instance can be sized in accordance with
specific application requirements. As the sizing module helps to calculate the size of components according to
known parameters, it is then possible to determine which components would be the most appropriate ones
with regard to design requirements.
Automation Studio’s uniqueness lies in the innovative combination of 2D drawing, engineering, simulation,
and animation capabilities. As opposed to other CAD solutions, Automation Studio offers an advanced
dynamic and realistic simulation. It enables to simulate entire systems easily, without having to program complex
mathematical models, and to literally bring the circuits to life in the full-color animation. Each component
has its own simulation model and becomes coloranimated making it easy to quickly spot problems areas
and to optimize the systems behavior in a way that could not have been so easily carried out. Wherever
applicable, characteristic curves representing component performance can be entered to obtain a more realistic
behavior of the system using numerical interpolation. All forces and loads applied to cylinders and motors can also be simulated as function of the position.
Users can therefore enter loading scenarios in accordance with the use and geometry of equipment. Loads
can also be applied by variables at any time. Users can also set parameters for fluid properties and viscosity,
and take heat transfer exchange into account. The emulation of complex mechanical systems and unforeseen
events becomes easily accessible to the designer.
Fig. 4: Automation Studio covers multiple technologies and provides symbols and simulation models for electrical
controls that interact with the fluid power symbols
Automation Studio helps systems designers to significantly improve their engineering design process.
Design is facilitated and the simulation enables throough analysis so as to validate design integrity. Automation Studio can also be used as a troubleshooting platform by making it possible to detect and repair problems areas prior to machine implementation.
Automation Studio can also integrate the whole product life cycle, from design to training and maintenance. Organizations which need to supply additional
services to their customers will find out that using Automation Studio at the engineering level will allow quicker technical publication creation and provide an outstanding training platform at virtually no extra cost.
First of all, original project documentation created by the engineering department can be immediately
passed down to the training department, thus saving the burden for instructors to redesign schematics for training
purposes. Secondly, Automation Studio offers flexible and interactive tools which enable easy entry of
different “what if” scenarios in concordance with the training objectives, and helps trainees understand machine
operation and troubleshooting procedures quickly and easily. This yields to significant savings on training
and technical support operating expenses which are critical success factors for this industry especially since
electric and hydraulic systems have become ever more complex. The maintenance and service teams can better
serve customers as they can detect failure more easily and ultimately reduce downtime and troubleshooting
time, making of the service department a more profitable business unit.
By including all the necessary features to help engineers design, instructors train, and service people keep
equipment running, Automation Studio fills a gap that has not yet been addressed by any other solution. With
its ease of use, powerful and yet easily configured simulation features, the deployment of Automation
Studio represents tremendous savings and quick ROI, greatly justifying any OEM involved in the supply of
Off Highway equipment to investigate how Automation Studio can help improve design efficiency and save
costs in the deployment of their technologies.
Fig. 5: In Automation Studi, parameters for fluid properties and viscosity can be set, and heat transfer exchange
be taken into account. The simulator calculates the temperature variation as well as heat dissipation in a circuit
Fig. 6:Components can be grouped and saved in custom libraries for later user. It is also possible to assign
and import catalog information and to document projects as Automation Studio™ automatically generates bill of material on the drawing page
Fig. 7:Automation Studio™ provides extensive and customizable symbols libraries which also include complete range of major manufacturers’ components.
It is possible to build circuits simply by dragging and dropping symbols onto the workspace
Visit Automation Studio’s Website at
www.automationstudio.com or contact Famic Technologies
at 514-748-8050 for a free on-line demonstration.
Famic Technologies Inc.
Adress: Montreal, Qc, Canada, H4M 2x5
Phone: 514-748-8050 ext 225
Educational Version: Yes
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