What’s new in Visual Components 4.9

Introducing Visual Components 4.9 – Craft with clarity

The latest version of our manufacturing simulation and robot offline programming solution is here. Visual Components 4.9 improves clarity in production planning and optimization, making it easier to handle large projects.

What’s new?

  • Enhanced design and collaboration with sub-layouts
  • Expanded robot connectivity with Kawasaki and Yaskawa
  • New and redesigned OLP calibration tools
  • Simplified robotic assembly operations

For more details, contact Flexcon.

Design, organize, and collaborate with sub-layouts

Visual Components 4.9 introduces sub-layouts, allowing you to break down large factory layouts into smaller sections. This feature helps organize designs and manage projects with multiple stakeholders. Sub-layouts transform messy setups into tidy units, simplifying layout management and maintaining privacy when sharing designs.

Available in all Visual Components products.

Connect to Yaskawa and Kawasaki robots

This release enhances robot connectivity with plugins for Kawasaki and Yaskawa robots. These plugins simplify importing, simulating, and executing robot programs, closely mimicking real-world scenarios. This integration ensures systems are optimized and issues resolved before physical implementation, eliminating the need for multiple tools.

Supports ABB, Doosan, Fanuc, KUKA, Kawasaki, and Yaskawa robots. Available in Visual Components Premium and Premium OLP 4.9.

More intuitive robot calibration

Redesigned OLP calibration tools in Visual Components enhance precision in robotic programming. Intuitive interfaces and guided instructions help control the calibration process, reducing errors and streamlining the workflow. These tools ensure programmed motions accurately reflect real-life actions, minimizing troubleshooting time.

Available in OLP 4.9 products.

Faster and easier robotic assembly operations

The new release simplifies robotic assembly operations. New setup tools, including automated robot path generation and optimization, make configuring assembly tasks smoother. These tools support verification and validation of assembly sequences, ensuring planned actions are viable for real-world application.

Available in OLP 4.9 products.

Bringing clarity into manufacturing planning

Finally a release that helps users navigate modern manufacturing complexities. With improved layout management, expanded robot connectivity, redesigned calibration tools, and streamlined assembly operations, each feature enhances your ability to craft with clarity.

For a demonstration of how this update can benefit your operations, contact Flexcon today!

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The remarkable future of industrial automation: introducing virtual commissioning.

Commissioning is an enduring methodology that can be based entirely on the use of simulation to test and optimize manufacturing systems prior to their physical construction.
Some insights into a key catalyst for advancing digital transformation in the context of manufacturing and industrial processes.

The notion of virtual commissioning

Virtual commissioning represents a breakthrough in the approach to manufacturing. Its main mission is to simplify the setup process, reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance factory output through the use of advanced simulations. Not only does this methodology help meet Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) deadlines in project plans, but it goes further by enabling “virtual FAT” in some cases.

Overcoming traditional challenges

Traditional set-up and start-up challenges, are often the cause of delays and additional costs in industrial projects. They are addressed by modern manufacturing simulations. The historical failure to test control software until the hardware is physically completed is overcome, radically changing the sequence of project implementation.

Virtual commissioning for a  smart factory
The future of manufacturing is virtual commissioning. With tools like FlexSim and the help of Flexcon‘s development and modeling team, companies can simulate and optimize industrial processes before they are even physically implemented, ensuring efficiency, reducing costs and accelerating time-to-market.

Software and commissioning: the heart of the process

With the advent of the programmable logic controller (PLC), software has risen to the driver’s seat in the field of automated machinery and equipment. However, until a few years ago, tests could only be performed on physical machines, inevitably delaying the commissioning process.

Virtual commissioning reorders this sequence, reducing the impact of commissioning on the critical path of the project. Creating a static representation of the machine using 3D CAD data, adding kinematics and a control system, was the first step towards virtual testing of the control software.

Most recently, with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), it became possible to create “smart” manufacturing systems that can alert their status, react to trends and optimize performance with very little human intervention.

The complexity of systems introduced by Industry 4.0 has required new processes to facilitate their implementation and oversee their operation. Two of these processes are digital twin and virtual commissioning.

Digital twin is based on the virtual reconstruction of a physical system. A computer model enables the exchange of data between the virtual and real systems. Digital twins can replicate single machines, cells and production lines or even entire factories.

Virtual commissioning is aimed at simulating the control logic and signals that eventually enable an automation system to run, so as to replicate its operation and complete its controls. In fact it is considered a key element in staying ahead of competitors and maximizing return on investment.

The pressure to rapidly implement new Industry 4.0 technologies also makes this methodology an indispensable strategic tool.

The captivating benefits of virtual commissioning

The benefits of virtual commissioning are numerous and highly visible. Early detection of problems, reduced project execution time, significant financial savings, and increased design flexibility are just some of the positive impacts.

Flexcon ha guidato aziende di diversi settori nell'implementare con successo il virtual commissioning utilizzando ad esempio Visual Components. Attraverso casi studio dettagliati, è emerso chiaramente come questa metodologia possa testare processi di produzione complessi.
With its exceptional rendering and visualization capabilities, Visual Components enables businesses to simulate and optimize complex production processes with ease, enhancing efficiency and reducing costs before physical implementation.

In essence (a step-by-step walkthrough of the virtual commissioning process):

Virtual commissioning is revolutionizing the way manufacturing plants systems are tested and optimized before they go physically into service. Enterprises in every industry can maximize the benefits of this innovative practice with a collaborative operating model developed within the company or by integrating external parties and teams. Some crucial stages for best practices:

Clear understanding is the starting point. A well-informed and knowledgeable team avoids mistakes by ensuring that virtual commissioning provides useful and applicable real-world data.

Analysis and definition of goals and production system functionality should be ensured by gathering essential documentation and requirements. This phase lays the foundation for a virtual model that is true to reality.

Building the 3D model is the next step, which is initiated from CAD data. With tools such as Flexsim and Visual Components, an extremely accurate 3D model can be created. Integration of kinematic data will provide a detailed representation of the designed equipment.

Logics can then be integrated by connecting the PLC and robot controller to the digital model in order to test sequences and system behavior. The connectivity of our simulation software with different manufacturers ensures an cross-compatible approach.

Simulation and testing are the next step. The model should be subjected to diverse operational scenarios, testing performance under both normal and error conditions. This step ensures that the system will effectively handle unexpected events.

After commissioning, it is key to adopt an approach of continuous improvement. Virtual commissioning reduces the need for physical startup. After this stage, feedback can be gathered to further refine the control model and logic. This ensures that processes are dynamic and constantly evolving. This system enables continuous improvement and immediate responses to rapid changes imposed by the markets.

Combining mechanical design and software development for industrial system automation, even the most complex, is a sure path to innovation.

It enables the enhancement of the quality of services and products.

The benefits of virtual commissioning are accordingly numerous. In addition to the shortening of time and costs associated with commissioning, it enables detailed analysis of the system and testing of its effectiveness, while also providing after-sales or follow-up support with the ability to easily verify any changes over time. In addition, the user-friendly visualization promotes communication and collaboration among the various stakeholders involved in the project and the commissioning.

However, virtual commissioning can also be employed for commercial or marketing purposes. If a demonstration presentation of a plant’s operation is needed, virtual simulations can serve as a convenient preview. This provides a clear and engaging overview.

In addition, the creation of a realistic virtual environment for machine operators and maintenance personnel is possible. Thus, through simulations, employees can enjoy optimal and completely safe training, effectively preparing for their tasks. In addition, tools such as Visual Components can integrate virtual reality into the process, further enhancing the training experience.

Virtual commissioning: the future is now.

Virtual commissioning can arguably be considered a cornerstone practice of advanced automation. Anyone already exploring the Digital Twin can’t help but consider implementing virtual commissioning. Our advice is to use the tools offered by innovative tools such as Visual Components and Flexsim.

In an increasingly digitally driven business world, embracing this methodology means not just staying competitive but also leading the way to a more efficient and innovative future within industrial manufacturing.

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Integrating process simulation with design tools: the rationale behind Autodesk’s acquisition of FlexSim

Flexsim acquired by Autodesk November 2023

FlexSim acquisition by Autodesk was completed in November 2023, shortly after the announcement of plans to integrate process simulation with native design tools already available on its platforms. This swift completion underscores Autodesk’s commitment to rapidly integrating FlexSim’s advanced simulation technology into its suite of tools. This acquisition allows Autodesk to enhance its digital factory design and operational efficiency capabilities. It positions Autodesk as a leader in providing comprehensive, cloud-connected solutions for the entire lifecycle of manufacturing and logistics operations. This strategic move not only fortifies Autodesk’s offerings but also delivers immediate value to its customers, enabling them to tackle contemporary industry challenges with innovative, integrated solutions.

Autodesk’s strategic acquisition of FlexSim and its industry-leading features

If a top multinational corporation makes the move to acquire a platform like Flexsim, it cannot be accidental. It must be part of a strategic plan reflecting the ambitions of this prestigious brand. The goal is to enhance factory design solutions and make a significant impact on its customers. This strategy is to facilitate digital transformation in manufacturing and logistics, addressing critical industry needs for efficiency and sustainability.

Integration of simulation with design tools


FlexSim’s simulation technology lets manufacturers create detailed models of factory floors and logistics centers. This provides valuable insights into production flow and performance metrics. Integrating FlexSim with Autodesk’s design tools, such as Inventor, Revit, AutoCAD, and Autodesk Construction Cloud, allows users to transition seamlessly from design to operational analysis within a unified platform.

Addressing industry challenges

Manufacturers are under pressure to optimize operations due to rising energy and material costs, stringent environmental regulations and the need to relocate and relocate production. FlexSim’s simulation technology provides a powerful solution, enabling comprehensive analysis and optimization of factory and logistics center operations. The task of Industry 4.0 and 5.0 is to provide manufacturers with tools to achieve greater efficiency, reduce costs and improve sustainability by putting it at the center of the enterprise.

Enhancing digital twins

One of the standout benefits of FlexSim’s technology is its ability to create digital twins—high-resolution virtual replicas of physical factories. These digital twins allow for detailed simulation and control of operations. They enable accurate performance prediction, energy consumption forecasting, safety analysis, and equipment utilization measurement. Integrating FlexSim with one of the largest modeling platforms worldwide strengthens the digital twin concept, making it more accessible and actionable for manufacturers.

FlexSim’s best features in today’s industry

Discrete event simulation (DES)

FlexSim excels in discrete event simulation, modeling systems as a sequence of discrete events over time. This method is effective for analyzing complex manufacturing processes and logistics operations. It helps identify bottlenecks, optimize workflows, and predict system behavior in various scenarios.

Advanced modeling and analysis

FlexSim provides robust tools for in-depth model analysis and layout scenarios. Users can simulate different factory layouts and processes, enabling them to test and refine their designs before implementation. This capability significantly reduces the risk of costly mistakes and inefficiencies that can arise from poor planning and design.

Real-time data integration

A key feature of FlexSim is its ability to integrate real-time operational data with factory design data. This integration ensures that simulations are based on current and accurate information, enhancing the reliability of the insights generated. This capability is crucial for maintaining a responsive and adaptive manufacturing environment, where changes can be quickly evaluated and implemented.

Cloud connectivity

FlexSim’s technology supports cloud-based data management, aligning perfectly with Autodesk’s cloud-first strategy. Centralized and connected data ensures that all stakeholders have access to up-to-date information, breaking down silos and improving communication and collaboration. This connectivity facilitates a continuous improvement loop. Lessons learned from each simulation can be applied to subsequent iterations, driving ongoing operational enhancements.

Predictive analytics and optimization

FlexSim’s simulation capabilities extend beyond mere modeling to include predictive analytics and optimization. Users can forecast the impact of changes in their production processes, evaluate different scenarios, and identify the optimal solutions. This proactive approach to management enables manufacturers to stay ahead of potential issues, streamline their operations, and make data-driven decisions that enhance productivity and reduce costs.

To learn more about the strategic steps that Autodesk is taking to expand its capabilities and leveraging artificial intelligence to improve automation and creativity in design and manufacturing, check out this interesting article.

The acquisition of FlexSim by Autodesk represents a strategic enhancement of Autodesk’s manufacturing and logistics solutions. By integrating advanced simulation capabilities with existing design tools, Autodesk is well-positioned to help manufacturers navigate the complexities of modern production environments. FlexSim’s robust features, including discrete event simulation, advanced modeling, real-time data integration, cloud connectivity, and predictive analytics, provide powerful tools for optimizing factory and logistics operations. This acquisition underscores a big corporate’s commitment to driving digital transformation in manufacturing, enabling businesses to achieve greater efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving industry.

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