Panel building 4.0

Digitalisation and automation at Aventech by Reyes Group

Panel building 4.0

Successful partnership between Weidmüller and Aventech by Reyes Group

Loïc Colin, Managing Director of Weidmüller France, and Sébastien Cerise, Managing Director of Aventech by Reyes Group, stand in front of the RailAssembler at Aventech by Reyes Groupe.

Standardisation, automation and process-wide solutions offer considerable optimisation potential, especially for time-consuming, manual activities. The collaboration between Aventech by Reyes Group and Weidmüller shows what this kind of optimisation could look like in the factory of the future, based on a new generation of automated assembly lines. The two companies launched a partnership roughly one year ago, with the goal of optimising productivity based on solutions developed by Weidmüller in automated assembly. Aventech uses Workplace Solutions for semi- and fully-automated assembly.

Aventech is a mid-sized company working on the integration of electromechanical equipment, and has almost fifty years of experience in the area. The company, which is headquartered in Valence (Drôme/France) has three production sites in France, with a total production area of 35,000 square meters, as well as production facilities in Tunisia and China. The successful company has 300 employees and is an expert in the development, industrialisation, and production of critical electrical high- and low-voltage equipment. Aventech focuses exclusively on specialised markets with strict technical requirements, certifying (country-specific) standards such as: nuclear power, hydropower, energy distribution, railway, oil/gas and alternative energies such as biogas, hydrogen, energy storage, or electric charging stations.

The control of the RailAssembler is easy and leads to time savings and consistent quality.

Standardisation, automation and process-wide solutions are one building block in creating customised, highly flexible, and self-maintaining production units. They offer considerable optimisation potential, especially in non-systematic engineering processes and time-consuming manual work. As a pioneer in this area, Weidmüller already offers specifically designed solutions in this area through its “Workplace Solutions”, which help manufacturers prepare for the future.

This optimisation concept is applied primarily in the time-intensive phases of planning, creating the wiring diagram, installation, wiring, and identification. French subsidiary Weidmüller France, which is headquartered in Cergy, also impressed Aventech by Reyes Group with innovative systems for automating panel building.

At the beginning of the project, the companies considered how they could work together to improve existing solutions using the automation expertise of Weidmüller, paired with Aventech's expertise in the area of automated production machinery. “We are combining the largest production unit for electrical low-voltage equipment in France at a site which is 15,000 square meters in size” notes Sébastien Cerise, Managing Director of Aventech by Reyes Group. “The Factory 4.0 concept influences our business strongly. The electrical industry today is undergoing a revolution, which is why we have decided to join with companies like Weidmüller so that we can grow together. We are very satisfied with this decision - and it's just the beginning of the story: we have lots of other ideas we intend to develop together as well”. According to Aventech, it was important to redefine the value of digital and automated machines, like the ones offered by Weidmüller, from development to manufacturing.

The first steps towards semi- or full automation are complete. Now, the next step is to improve the digital consistency of the data. Data serves as the basis for streamlined engineering, automated production steps, and comprehensive documentation. However, at the same time it is important to support employees and ensure employee buy-in on digitalisation. Aventech by Reyes Group intends to maintain the special features of certain trade groups, in order to become much more productive in panel or switch box production.

The Factory 4.0 concept influences our business strongly. The electrical industry today is undergoing a revolution, which is why we have decided to join with companies like Weidmüller so that we can grow together. We are very satisfied with this decision - and it's just the beginning of the story: we have lots of other ideas we intend to develop together as well

Sébastien Cerise, Managing Director of Aventech by Reyes Group

Loïc Colin, Managing Director of Weidmüller France, remembers: “Weidmüller developed the Wire Processing Center (WPC), the Klippon® Automated RailAssembler and the Klippon® Automated RailLaser as machines that are directly coordinated to work together, and that are optimal solutions for the workshop. We knew this approach would be highly interesting for Aventech as well. In mid 2019, we began presenting the concept to the specialists, and sounding out what our machines can do in an advanced manufacturing workshop like that of Aventech by Reyes Group”. In addition to the innovative technology, comprehensive support and advice from Weidmüller were also key to the formation of the new partnership. This has created a unique option for industries such as energy, oil & gas, and renewable energy. Cerise emphasises that the companies are working together to disrupt the market with a concept that enables them to work differently. Digital technology bridges the gap between the customer, the manufacturing facility, and the installation company. This serves as a stark contrast to earlier eras, when the customer handled planning, and the production facility was only responsible for manufacturing. “Digital tools are allowing us to revolutionise this approach. They make it possible to coordinate the three factors price, deadlines, and quality, so that we can truly differentiate ourselves, or take over planning together, in order to adjust the design of the equipment to the use of automated machinery”. He emphasises not only the advantage for initial production, but also the advantages resulting from making production repeatable. “We are able to ensure the traceability of processes and an optimal level of quality for equipment. We are significantly improving the operational reliability of the team, the quality of the work, and the ergonomics. We can generate a tested and finalised sub-assembly directly from the 2D/3D plan. Our employees love these new machines, because the process makes work much more comfortable” says Cerise.

Aventech by Reyes Group relies on the expertise of Weidmüller to develop the machines and contributes its operational vision of the production site. Aventech has already successfully launched operation of two fully-automated machines, the RailLaser and the RailAssembler. With its use of the RailAssembler and RailLaser, Aventech by Reyes Group is tapping into digital production processes and creating continuous manufacturing processes with a consistently high level of quality.

The terminal blocks are automatically equipped by the RailAssembler according to the individual specifications.

Automatic terminal block assembly and printing

In combination with the Weidmüller Configurator (WMC), the Klippon® Automated RailAssembler enables fully automatic fitting of terminal blocks. This serves as an ideal basis for more efficient processes on the shop floor. The RailAssembler controls the production process for complete terminal blocks using data obtained from the planning process. Manual picking, assigning, positioning, mounting and checking of individual terminal blocks are a thing of the past. The machine has a total of 48 magazine places for components and 20 places for deflected mounting rails. The gripper searches for the specified terminals based on the data transmitted to the machine, then installs them on the rail. This makes it possible to manufacture both small terminal strips with just a few terminals, or terminal strips up to 1.20 meters long, with hundreds of terminals. There are countless potential solutions that can be individually adjusted to the customer’s desired application. Aventech can also control the Klippon® Automated RailLaser using the same data to implement fully-automated marking of pre-fitted terminal blocks. The individual marking levels are generated from a digital twin of the eCAD systems and the Weidmüller Configurator, which are transmitted directly to the Klippon® Automated RailLaser and control the marking of terminal blocks. By directly and consistently using planning data, manual production steps are omitted. It can be used to mark both automatic and manually assembled terminal blocks.

The heart of the Klippon® Automated RailLaser – an image processing system – is used to compare the theoretical position from the digital model with the actual position on the terminal block and automatically perform any necessary corrections. Before the terminal rail is marked, it can be supplemented with additional or larger products that cannot be handled by the gripper. The entire terminal strip is then marked with the laser, in order to achieve optimal quality and repeatability for the marking.

Trailblazer in panel building

The advantages in automated production were clear immediately after the two machines were introduced. In the future, Aventech by Reyes Group will be implementing solutions from Weidmüller in the production of panels used in the OEM, biogas, railway, and nuclear sectors. The partnership between Weidmüller and Aventech by Reyes Group is laying out a path to tap into new markets. In addition, the high degree of automation of the process will make it possible to recover markets lost long ago in Europe. Through their partnership, the companies are underscoring their focus on innovation in Industry 4.0.

Perfect complementation

Workplace Solutions

We support panel builders around the world and understand the challenges they face. We therefore provide you with well thought-out products and solutions of excellent quality for every step in panel building. This is how we create added value for you and your customers. Take advantage of our know-how.