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NED Week in Review

Inside Source for Manufacturing Innovation News, Equipment, & Trends

 NED Week in Review 

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EPLAN Cogineer enables automated schematic creation without any programming required and without the need for specialized knowledge in configuration and variant management.

Electrical planning: Automation time savings and batch size one
Control cabinet manufacturers who automate their planning processes will benefit from shorter project times and higher quality. Secondary processes such as documentation creation can also be simplified. But how much time can really be saved over the whole process? Hanseatic Power Solutions GmbH (HPS) automated its control cabinet engineering in several steps and has just implemented EPLAN Cogineer. The company has now used a "before and after" comparison to record actual time savings. The results are clear. Electrical planning alone now takes only 20% of the original time.

Emergency power supplies for power stations and "power islands" for hospitals and cruise ships are the type of applications that control cabinets from HPS are constructed. The company plans and builds control technology for the highly demanding energy sector. This is evident from HPS opening a branch in the Arab Emirates in 2017. Employees there carry out sales, project planning, and service tasks for customers from the region who include power plant and refinery operators.

Target: Maximal automation in control cabinet engineering
Since the company was founded in 2009, managing director Bernd Mähnss and his team have prioritized maximum automation in the project planning, design, and manufacture of control cabinets. This has resulted in the completion of even complex projects (with 80 to 100 control cabinet panels) within six to eight weeks, from receipt of the order through delivery and installation.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5f18538e5040385e588b45af" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" data-embed-alt="HPS is renowned worldwide as a specialist for power engineering, especially for sensitive and critical applications such as emergency power supplies." data-embed-src="" data-embed-caption="HPS is renowned worldwide as a specialist for power engineering, especially for sensitive and critical applications such as emergency power supplies." data-embed-credit="HPS" ]}%

One reason for this quick turnaround, even though the projects involve batch size one products, is consistent use of the EPLAN platform. EPLAN Pro Panel is used for 3D cabinet planning. Power distributors and busbars made of copper are designed and completed in 3D using the copper module, and (external) cable assembly is based on the routing module.

Quickly created schematics
HPS (and thus its customers) has been benefiting from even shorter through-put times for several months now. When EPLAN launched its Cogineer software, HPS was one of the first customers to implement the module. EPLAN Cogineer enables the automated schematic creation without any programming required and without the need for specialized knowledge in configuration and variant management. Only basic macro knowledge is needed to quickly start using the application.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5f1853df4f4a377b5e8b4576" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" data-embed-alt="Electrical planners from HPS working with EPLAN Pro Panel in assembly." data-embed-src="" data-embed-caption="Electrical planners from HPS working with EPLAN Pro Panel in assembly." data-embed-credit="HPS" ]}%

Standardization for one-off products
At first, it may be surprising that a control cabinet manufacturer working with batch size one is using automation and standardization. Bernd Mähnss, founder and managing director of HPS says, "Our projects are of course always individual. But they also have recurring functions and modules such as schematics for controlling ventilation and fire dampers in building automation." For such functions, HPS stores macro libraries in Cogineer which electrical engineers can access when required. Dennis Burmeister, Sales Engineering/ Service at HPS is responsible for the implementation of Cogineer, "Users just need to select the required power and everything else is then determined automatically and integrated into the schematic: from the correct switches for motor protection and repair to the terminals and cable cross-sections. Function designations in the schematic are also assigned automatically." Options can also be clicked and integrated into the plan. For example, the power supply can be selected via generator voltage or via consumer voltage with contactor.

"Tried and tested" routing and thermal properties
Depending on the options selected and the power supply type, schematics are then automatically generated. Cogineer also offers other benefits in addition to design automation. Dennis Burmeister, "The macros have been tried and tested and are error-free. This gives us assurance while also improving the quality of the design. Planners no longer need to carry out time-consuming detailed work when making subsequent changes, e.g. to a power value. The software takes over." Routing is integrated in the automated schematic creation, and HPS can also automatically order the terminals directly from Phoenix Contact using the corresponding EPLAN module. Rittal Therm is used to calculate the power dissipation of all the components selected in EPLAN. This enables the planner to identify "hotspots."

The next step: Paperless production using EPLAN eView
For several years, HPS has not been using standard hard copy folders and documentation unless customers request them. Instead, a QR code is attached to each control cabinet enabling users to view the detailed documentation maintained at HPS online. Dennis Burmeister, "The added benefit is that the documentation is always up-to-date in the sense of it being a "digital twin" throughout the entire lifecycle of the actual cabinet." The next step is to have a paperless "shop floor" by using EPLAN eView. Bernd Mähnss: "We already only need the schematic for inspection. In production, a layout plan is sufficient. We will soon be equipping the inspection stations with eView. Maintenance personnel can then add comments directly in the standards-compliant documentation. This saves time and again avoids duplication of work."

Summary: Automation enables major efficiency gains
After implementing EPLAN Cogineer, HPS used a "before and after" comparison of the time taken for processing an order with and without automation. Taken into consideration were Cogineer as well as EPLAN links to mechanical processing and automated cable and terminal assembly. These resulted in design being faster by 25%, and electrical planning by 80%. The effort required for mechanical production is reduced to half and electrical production is 40% faster. Documentation was created in a quarter of the time it normally takes. Bernd Mähnss: "All in all, our delivery times—which were previously more than competitive, i.e. very short—have been reduced by around 35% thanks to automation and our integrated planning process. At the same time, documentation is more detailed and planning quality is also better because tried and tested macros and modules are being used." It is clear that HPS will continue along this path.


Kindred announced that Gap Inc. has purchased 73 additional SORT robots to install in its U.S. distribution centers, to bring its total fleet to 106. Kindred has already deployed 20 of the new SORT systems to Gap Inc.’s largest-volume distribution center in Columbus, Ohio, and 10 to a center near Nashville, Tennessee, helping Gap Inc. meet the increasing demand for online orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gap Inc. has made a bold statement with its investment to increase its robotics footprint across its supply chain significantly,” said Marin Tchakarov, COO of Kindred. “Global retailers realize intelligent robotics are the only way to meet increasing customer delivery expectations and consistent throughput. Kindred’s modularity, price-per-pick, and quick implementation model help retailers big and small embrace robotic automation.”

Between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020, Gap Inc. has used SORT robotics systems to sort more than 13 million units of merchandise. During that time frame, the systems facilitated an average sorting speed of 335 units per hour and maintained uptime at 99.8%.

“We’re pleased that our partnership with Kindred has grown from a test pilot to a full deployment of their SORT robots across our U.S. network – especially at a time when we’re trying to keep our employees safe,” said Kevin Kuntz, Senior Vice President of Global Logistics Fulfillment at Gap Inc. “We look forward to working together with Kindred on cutting-edge automation.”

Gap Inc. has been using SORT robotic piece-picking systems for secondary sortation points at its distribution centers in Tennessee, California, and New York since 2017. Once the additional systems are deployed, Gap Inc. will have paired SORT robotics with all the automated primary sortation systems in its distribution network.

“Applying automation and artificial intelligence-based solutions to e-commerce logistics and fulfillment, allows retailers to scale their operations predictability and efficiently,” said Pierre Lamond, Chairman of the Board for Kindred and Partner at Eclipse Ventures. “Furthermore, as we see in the current crisis, retailers with resilient operations outperform the competition in areas such as customer satisfaction, sales, and margins. We have digitized the commerce side of the retail equation, now we must modernize the rest of the value chain to meet increasing demand.”

SORT piece-picking robots utilize AutoGrasp, a robotics intelligence platform that identifies and singulates items to pick and place into an automated putwall. AutoGrasp combines vision, grasping, and manipulation algorithms to move clothing, poly bags, and other small items. Kindred uses cutting-edge AI research and human-in-the-loop data methodology to continuously improve robot capabilities so that picking becomes smarter, faster, and more accurate over time.

Kindred SORT robots have picked more than 60 million units in production to date.

The DB-60 delivers a powerful mist with a range of up to 200 ft (60 m).

Methods for wide-area suppression of surface-borne microbes such as the novel coronavirus—also referred to as SARS-Cov-2 or Covid-19—is a serious consideration for both private industry and public works. Atomized mist technology is currently being used for the safe and consistent distribution of Surface Disinfectant Cleaners (SDCs) over worksites, busy foot traffic areas, and communal spaces. At the forefront of this effort is the DustBoss line of industrial misting cannons, a family of high-powered machines originally designed for large-area dust control.

“The challenge is protecting workers and the public in outdoor spaces by the most effective means possible, using technology that requires the least amount of human contact,” said Mike Lewis, VP of Sales at BossTek. “Sending crews of people out on a regular basis to clean publicly-accessed surfaces is inefficient, costly, and exposes the workers to potential contamination. Studies have shown that the distribution of SDCs evenly across surfaces can effectively reduce the presence of viral and bacterial microbes to mitigate the spread of disease. Atomized mist has proven to be a very effective distribution method.”

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5f1849dcc1bdce8c598b458f" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" data-embed-alt="Apartment buildings and other large structures can be disinfected quickly and effectively." data-embed-src="" data-embed-caption="Apartment buildings and other large structures can be disinfected quickly and effectively." data-embed-credit="BossTek" ]}%

Public spaces aren’t the only locations getting treated. Lewis said the company has also supplied equipment for large operations such as mines and material processing facilities that are sanitizing work surfaces before employees return to work. “We’re even seeing some customers who aren’t back up and running yet, but they’re re-purposing their machines to help out other businesses or municipalities, loaning out the equipment to help protect others,” he added. All of the DustBoss models for these applications are available for sale or rent.

Protecting Against COVID-19 

The World Health Organization (WHO) differentiates cleaning with disinfecting by defining cleaning as “the removal of visible dirt or particles,” whereas disinfecting “refers to specific measures taken to control, deactivate or kill infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria.”1

A study testing the effects of SDCs on infectious viruses (Ebola) conducted by the School of Engineering at Tufts University found that “the use of just 0.5% chlorine solutions with a 15-min exposure time is effective in reducing transmission risk.”2 When distributing the proper mixture and dosage to an area during low traffic times, property owners can significantly mitigate the potential risk.

Atomized mist technology disperses millions of tiny treated water droplets over a wide area to achieve effective coverage. The heavy-duty barrel-shaped DustBoss cannons force water through a circular brass manifold fitted with atomizing spray nozzles that fracture the water into tiny droplets 15 to 200 microns in size. The midsized model has a reach of up to 200 ft (60 m). Using a powerful 25 HP fan that produces 30,000 CFM (849.50 CMM) of airflow, the droplets are propelled outward in a cone-shaped pattern. With the adjustable 0 to 50-deg. angle and 359-deg. oscillation settings, the largest model in the fleet can cover up to 280,000 ft2 (31,000 m2)—nearly 6 football fields. 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5f1849dcc1bdcef5568b45a1" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" data-embed-alt="The misting cannons can be mounted with a genset and water storage for a self-contained solution." data-embed-src="" data-embed-caption="The misting cannons can be mounted with a genset and water storage for a self-contained solution." data-embed-credit="BossTek" ]}%

Companies that specialize in outdoor disinfecting services are currently contracted by municipalities and private industries and have already begun successfully implementing this technology in North and South America. The atomized misting cannons can be mounted on water trucks or specified in the company’s Fusion configuration—which includes a trailer-mounted cannon and genset—an effective delivery system for large-scale disinfecting work that’s portable by a pickup truck.

The mobile operations go to parks, community centers, schools, construction sites, and business plazas at opportune times of the day or evening to evenly distribute their proprietary SDCs. Using the optional dosing pump, technicians are able to precisely meter in the right amount of disinfectant to achieve desired concentrations, maximizing efficiency, and minimizing waste.

“People want to work and play in the safest environment possible and this technology can help,” said Lewis.  “According to some experts, these types of outbreaks may be more frequent in the future.  Having a mechanism for large-area disinfection in place that is easily dispatched to vulnerable areas to quickly stem the tide of infection from surface-borne microbes is a smart move for both public and private entities.”


1“Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation, 3rd edition.” Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. ISBN-13: 978-92-4-154777-2.

2Lantagne, Daniele, et al. “Determining the Efficacy, Safety and Suitability of Disinfectants to Prevent Emerging Infectious Disease Transmission”. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Humanitarian Contexts, Water Journal, 2018, 10(10), 1397.

Pallet Flow Wide Roller Loading

Meeting Product Demand with Efficient Pallet Flow Rack

Dynamic racking speeds product loading and unloading, while minimizing labor and maximizing storage.


Neutron Cover Image

N-Ray is the New X-Ray: Making NDT More Accessible

A nuclear technology company, Phoenix LLC, has created the first system in history that makes neutron radiography a powerful method for nondestructive testing (NDT).


Editor's Choice


With an output of up to 250 products per minute, the 452E Top Labeler automatically adjusts on-product label position to ensure tight tolerances, even with particularly challenging applications.




Providing a safe, reliable, and durable hydraulic power source for applications up to 68,000 psi, the T-Series pneumatically-operated liquid pumps are built to run at their maximum rated pressure and do not require a lubricated air source.


The GT2 is an easy-to-deploy temperature sensing kiosk that enables businesses to protect the health and safety of employees and guests by identifying anyone with a fever and/or without a face mask prior to that person gaining access to a facility.


VM3 is a revolutionary sensor that combines speed detection with triaxial vibration and temperature, enabling continuous monitoring of variable speed assets.


Spot-r combines a powerful and reliable proprietary network, compact worker wearable devices, and an intuitive cloud-based dashboard to provide real-time, data-driven visibility into workers, equipment, and specific areas of interest to increase productivity and safety across facilities.


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