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To ensure that a new W&H line fits into a customer's production hall, the machines are replicated to scale in 3D on a computer or tablet. In the construction phase W&H therefore uses an innovative configuration tool, which simulates the real hall conditions of a customer by integrating 3d data. With just a few clicks, this tool can check the fit of a W&H machine in the existing production environment. This reduces travel costs and saves time during the project phase, especially as the project can be discussed remotely.

A full-grown VAREX II blown film line with the working width 3200 mm, can reach a height of over 15 meters and become over 12 meters long and scarcely nine meters wide. So that a plant fits later also really into a production hall, measure must be taken exactly. To ensure this fit, W&H uses a new and innovative configuration tool that can reproduce extrusion lines and hall conditions true to scale in three dimensions. This innovative configuration tool is particularly flexible in the 3d environment: it directly checks for possible collisions between the machine and the hall. "In the event of collisions indicated by the computer configurations, we can react quickly and flexibly reschedule a machine and adapt it accordingly in the construction department", says Sascha Asenheimer, software developer at W&H.

The construction of a machine is millimeter work

The visualization tool therefore saves not only costs but also time: Whereas a W&H consultant used to have to commute back and forth between a customer, the constructeurs and technical draftsmen, today, the new configurations can be transferred to the construction department with just one click. "Before we started to use the digital configurations tool, our customers often worked with our consultants to actually recreate the machine from paper. The tinkering helped them to imagine the machine in their own production hall," says Asenheimer. "The construction of our sophisticated machines requires planning that is exact to the millimeter. If the design miscalculates by just one millimeter, the consequences are disastrous: After all, the best machine is not good enough if it simply does not fit into the production environment in the end".

Up to now, the digital configuration tool has mainly been used for the construction of blown film lines. In the future, it will also be used as a standard tool in the printing business unit. In the converting machine sector, the tool helps already in particular for planning paper sack lines that can be over 100 meters long.