The design of assemblies for maritime cranes was redefined in a project with Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH. According to Liebherr, the software solution developed by V-Research brings down the time taken by up to 90 per cent (!) and significantly reduces production costs.
Instead of time-consuming detailed design work, only a minimum of assembly parameters are entered via a graphical user interface. The 3D CAD model, the fabrication drawing, the bill of materials and the production costs are generated quickly and easily.
The experts at V-Research ascertained the obligatory standards and requirements of the production process during the course of the project and transformed these into rules. Furthermore, the engineers' design knowledge was recorded and, together with the necessary structural parameters, modelled into a rule base. The introduction of a standardised construction kit minimises the number of underlying components. The developed application is integrated into the CAD software used by Liebherr.
In its production, Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH uses a variety of assemblies that have connectors. Since many of these assemblies are either still in active use and further development or also serve as the starting point for new developments, old components that did not correspond to the new standard had to be replaced in the CAD models of the existing assemblies in order to introduce a standardised construction kit of connectors. Liebherr opted for an automated solution from V-Research.
V-Research's research engineers developed a system of pattern-matching logic in order to identify connectors that did not comply with the standards among a large number of components and geometric elements. In addition, a method was developed that makes it possible to associate additional information with elements of a component structure. This allows the installation conditions to be transferred from the part that is to be replaced to the standard part and therefore allows correct positioning of the new component.
With the solution developed by V-Research, it was possible to reduce the time required for replacing connectors by some 95%. This solution is characterised by the following properties:
Hans Künz GmbH is a fast-growing company specialising in client-specific, technically sophisticated and high-quality products and systems for various industries. Its products include container cranes.
Considerably increased order volume demands new solutions for processing in order to continue to act quickly and convincingly with unaltered capacity. Especially at the tendering stage for gantry cranes, the sales personnel face a complex task. It is necessary to verify the feasibility of customer requests, to transfer these into a 3D CAD model, and from this to derive drawings with the main dimensions. Among other aspects, the range of the trolley, the weight of the crane and the manufacturing costs must be integrated into this model. This takes time and costs money.
V-Research developed a software solution for the continuous, automated design process at Künz. The aim was to ensure optimum efficiency in the generation of crane variants based on the highest possible number of existing standard components, including all necessary documents and information, from tendering through to production.
The system to be developed for automating the design process is designed to support an iterative design process and to require very little technical expertise. It serves as an efficient and intuitive aid for a designer or a member of the sales team and to ensure a rapid response to changes in customer requests.
In the project “Automated design of inspections of maritime cranes”, V-Research developed a software framework specially tailored to the requirements of Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH for the automated design of assemblies. Based on this framework, V-Research is automating the boom design of shipboard and drilling-platform cranes in another joint project with Liebherr.
The challenge in the automated design of the inspections lay in recording the complex design logic and the large number of inspection variants. With a reasonable amount of effort, it was possible to calculate the structural parameters of these components and reflect them in the rule base. This was not possible for the booms, as both the length of the boom and the loading conditions that must be considered (angle of incline, load and position on the boom) are specified by the customer. To allow the boom design to be automated despite this, the automation algorithm passes the data required for the structural calculation to a structural software program. This calculates a weight-optimised assembly structure that corresponds to defined structural restrictions and returns the resulting data (e.g. the necessary sheet thicknesses or the number of buckling stiffeners) to the automation process.
With the automation algorithm and the results of the structural calculations, a solution with optimised costs can be calculated using the design rules stored in the rule base.