Weiss Develops Mechatronics Software
In pursuing its development strategy for mechatronic products, Weiss GmbH is placing more emphasis on the intuitive operation and easy configuration of its components and systems. As a supplier of rotary indexing tables and automation components for many years, Weiss (based in the town of Buchen in the Odenwald district of Germany) regards this decision as a logical extension of its commitment to product development in the recent decades.
In the past the company has devoted considerable effort to meeting global requirements for automation, developing solutions that offer high yield efficiency combined with high versatility and reusability to allow them to be quickly and easily reconfigured for new product versions without long setup or conversion times. This objective was attained by the interdisciplinary integration of the company's expertise in various processes and capabilities. The merger of these different disciplines - mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and information technology -has led to the development of products featuring extremely high performance combined with complexity and sophistication.
"Right from the start, we focused on developing intelligent components, with products that can properly handle one-off lots while at the same time offering ease of use for operators lacking interdisciplinary skills and easy integration into operational processes. With regard to a self-explanatory, intuitive operator interface for a complex technology, we more or less took our cue from smartphones," according to Uwe Weiß, managing partner of the company.
The company developed its own application software, Weiss Application Software (WAS), to provide a solution to the requirements for the human-machine interface-an intelligent, Windows-based user interface for generating and configuring motion control programs for all Weiss user-programmable products. In a manner of speaking, the engineering effort normally necessary for integration has already been provided by the software.
WAS is beneficial for small and medium-size manufacturers of special-purpose machinery, who up to now have been compelled to outsource the development of control programs due to the absence of in-house expertise in this complex subject. WAS makes it easy for them to set up Weiss' automation components themselves, either by entering paths, angles and ramps directly or by using the handy teach-in mode. WAS also supports large-scale users of Weiss components by helping them to reduce programming effort and thereby reduce the life cycle cost (LCC) of the system.