What does parameterization mean in programming

Mechanical engineering: parameterizing instead of programming

Machines should be user-friendly, easy to assemble and easy to maintain. Against the background of demographic developments and the shortage of skilled workers, this user request is becoming a necessity. Because where there is a lack of qualified personnel, other concepts are required.

The most important trends in mechanical engineering currently include the acceleration of innovation cycles, a growing variety of variants and complexity as well as ever tighter time budgets for the development of new models. While the technology required to create efficient, powerful and flexible machines is becoming more and more complex, competence and qualifications on the user and operator side are decreasing. At least that is what more than half, namely 56%, of the approximately 1,800 members of the Association of German Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA) feared.

In the summer of 2011, the development and design managers of German mechanical and plant engineering companies in particular were interviewed for the study commissioned by the Hamelin drive specialist Lenze. The focus of the investigation was on the interface between component suppliers and machine manufacturers in relation to drive and control technology.

Machine and system builders expect less qualified personnel

The respondents expected less qualified personnel not only in operation, but also in development (41%) and in the production and assembly of machines (58%). 61% concluded from this that the production of a machine must become easier. Logically, nothing else can apply to usability. After all, this is also about occupational health and safety, avoidance of machine breakdowns and downtimes.

How these goals can be achieved and how complexity, including the associated risks, can be reduced, there are quite different ideas and approaches - modular concepts, building block systems, standardization, robots equipped with more sensors and the like.

New parameterization is an important option for making work easier in mechanical engineering

For users of machines, systems and robots this means e.g. B. easy handling, clear user guidance, clear and "handy" control elements. For machine operators and system integrators, a range of functions that can be selected for different applications or the option to instead of reprogramming is an important factor in making work easier.

In the innovative consumer goods industry, for example For example, it is important to be able to adapt and convert production and packaging machines to new products in the shortest possible time. Modular concepts are required here that support the quick exchange and easy installation of product-specific components. 84% of the experts surveyed in the VDMA were of the opinion that service-friendliness should already be taken into account during development. The level of approval, differentiated by machine group, was even higher for food / packaging machines and woodworking machines.

"When developing a new machine, developers are increasingly confronted with the challenge of not being able to understand every aspect of automation down to the last detail," is one of the findings in the study, which 61% of the development and construction engineers surveyed agreed with . 83% were of the opinion that drive and control technology is becoming increasingly complex and that flexible variant production with modularized components is gaining in importance. And three out of four were of the opinion that due to the increasing complexity, mechanical engineering and component suppliers must work more closely together.

University education in transition: generalists instead of specialists

The development methodology will change, predicts Prof. Holger Borcherding, head of the power electronics and electrical drive technology laboratory at the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences: "The technology is becoming more complex, the engineers are becoming scarcer, their training is becoming more application-oriented," he outlines the situation and the parameters . “In university education, the focus is changing - away from specialists and towards generalists. That means: less “hard” physics and in-depth specialist knowledge, simulation instead of profound knowledge. "Borcherding sees this with a certain sadness, but also sees an advantage:" Interdisciplinary development methods are created. "

With CNC machines, you can already see where the journey can go. There, graphic animations of program steps are increasingly part of the functionality of the controls. In order to make the operation as comfortable as possible, especially for users in emerging countries, z. For example, Siemens Drive Technologies developed the "Sinumerik Operate" user interface and programming interface. In addition to classic programming according to DIN / ISO or via G-code with the ShopMill and ShopTurn work step programming, the graphical user interface also offers the option of simply creating programs by linking typical machining processes.

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