Industry Case Study: Electronics & Semiconductor

Brunner Elektronik

From CAD screen straight to the cockpit.

Control and drive system specialist

Brunner Elektronik’s day-to-day challenge is to perfectly combine mechanical and electrical components into comprehensive solutions. Its customers’ high design standards challenge the processes used throughout product development, driving Brunner to achieve optimal results in visual design, functionality assessment and thermal simulation. Thanks to Solid Edge® software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software, Brunner can develop products quickly and efficiently.

For 47 years, Brunner Elektronik has been producing custom control and drive systems, sophisticated assemblies and complex integrated solutions. Located at Hittnau, near Zürich, Switzerland, the company is renowned for its deep expertise in power electronics and mechatronic systems.

Brunner primarily designs and manufactures to individual specifications, mainly for customers in the machinery, medical and simulation technology industries. To serve these customers, the company runs a complete mechanical production shop with state-of-the-art computer numerical control (CNC) milling and turning machines, as well as everything needed to design, engineer and manufacture mechanical parts.

Using Solid Edge computer-aided design (CAD) software, Brunner engineers can optimize their designs in minute detail prior to production, and perform simulations using digital prototypes. Brunner Elektronik is currently using Solid Edge with the Insight™ design data management solution. “These capabilities enable us to improve product quality and fulfill our customers’ requirements faster,” says Robert Brunner, founder and owner, Brunner Elektronik. The company has been using Solid Edge with great success for 10 years.

Intuitive operation, superior productivity

Brunner is an electronics engineer with passion. He puts all his faith in Solid Edge, having acquainted himself with the software more than 10 years ago, and has used it for increasingly complex customer projects.

His son, Thomas Brunner, is head of the company’s mechanical department. He and his colleagues work with Solid Edge to design housings and printed circuit boards (PCBs). “What I particularly like about Solid Edge is its intuitive usability,” Thomas Brunner says.

“I was able to use the software for production work after a very short time. Having worked with a well-known competing product for testing purposes, I must say that by comparison, Solid Edge has fully convinced me. It has a good, comprehensible structure and design, which is a great plus.”

Accelerated development cycles and fast reaction to changes from customers require Brunner Elektronik to work with great efficiency to reduce costs. By optimizing the implementation of customer requirements within predefined, tight schedules, Brunner and his team can bring new products to market well ahead of competitors. The company can generally act with greater flexibility, which helps it compete in fiercely competitive international markets.

From complex mechatronic assemblies, all the way to documentation

At Brunner Elektronik, Solid Edge is used not only for mechanical design but also for electrical and electronic design tasks.

Mechatronic designs require the integration of electronic components, and limited space frequently poses quite a challenge for the design engineers and in production. The software also includes useful tools for finding optimal, technically mature solutions in heat sink design. “We use Solid Edge for electronic components a lot,” says Thomas Brunner.

“There, multibody simulation capabilities of the software are important to us. Using simulation, we can trace movements to see immediately whether parts collide or get stuck. It takes the most current CAD technology to facilitate virtual design. Solid Edge is perfectly suited for this.”

With the broad range of Solid Edge functions for part modeling, exploded views, photorealistic rendering and frame design, and with add-on capabilities for simulation, cable harness design, injection mold design and additional assembly applications, Brunner Elektronik can quickly produce product videos for customers. Particularly for smaller businesses, this capability opens doors not only across design, engineering and production operations, but also for marketing purposes.

For Thomas Brunner, these are distinct competitive advantages that he had the opportunity to test and fully exploit in completing another recent project: the core component of a flight simulator. He explains, “In the computer simulation, you can see all movements of the entire platform in detail. This is quite a thrill ‒ also, of course, for our customers.

We can also use Solid Edge in the creation of all the documentation. The renderings are so realistic we effectively do not need to have photos made anymore.” Eliminating the need for photographs also means significant cost savings.

The Brunner Elektronik design office is frequently met with requests from domestic and international aerospace customers, for which the motion simulation, collision detection and structural strength calculations of Solid Edge are particularly useful.

For the design department, working with Solid Edge helps realize significant overall design time reduction. The software also serves an important role in fulfilling the rigid traceability requirements for product certifications.

Furthermore, the automatic collision detection and comprehensive integration of interfaces to other processes are vitally important and extremely practical in prototyping. At the touch of a button, all component data is transferred to the central system, where all settings for the milling machine are generated automatically. “By comparison with when we created drawings manually, this alone saves a significant amount of time,” Thomas Brunner says.

He adds, “What I like most about Solid Edge is its superior usability.”

Challenges

  • Develop and produce products more efficiently
  • Transition to 3D CAD/CAM system
  • Simplify processes, from design to prototyping and production
  • Fulfill customer requirements

Keys To Success

  • Simulation with digital prototypes
  • Design agility and flexibility
  • Data consistency and interfaces to CAM
  • Collaboration across various development departments

Results

  • Significant time savings
  • Simplified processes
  • Minimized risk
  • Cost reduction with good cost-benefit ratio
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Workload reduction

 

Download The PDF Here

Download The PDF Here

Design freedom and production reliability

Designing freeform geometries that optimally balance requirements for ergonomics, electronics, and injection molding processes can take small businesses to their limits. These challenges make service providers such as Brunner Elektronik, with its specialized expertise, an important partner.

A recent example project is an aircraft control stick, designed and engineered with Solid Edge, from start to finish, by Robert Brunner. Thomas Brunner had initially tried various other software products, concluding that there were other software packages that could easily do the modeling, but the resulting data could not be used by the plastics specialist. The company then adopted Solid Edge.

With comprehensive support from Robin Vornholt, senior consultant at bytics AG, a Siemens PLM Software channel partner and systems integrator based at nearby Volketswil, the entire Brunner Elektronik design team successfully entered the 3D world of Solid Edge. The individual training provided by bytics laid the foundation for the company to become proficient with the operation of the system and its many modules and add-ons, and to exploit its high-value functionality.

Brunner Elektronik also worked with bytics to implement the Solid Edge with Insight document management system. “We are quite satisfied with it,” says Thomas Brunner. “It has been working flawlessly for years now. We have been talking to the same bytics people from the start. It is important to us that the support engineers are familiar with our system and that there is always someone there for us. We are absolutely happy with their support.”

The first series of the control stick and the associated control unit was produced and delivered, and a second batch is already in stock at Hittnau. For Robert Brunner, it is quite clear that training is crucial to success. “Training should, in no event, be omitted,” he says. “The software has a lot to offer, much of which would go undiscovered without training.”

Thanks to the sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, freeform design capabilities of Solid Edge, Brunner Elektronik now receives growing numbers of queries from the aerospace industry for extraordinarily complex assemblies such as joysticks. “Because we can implement individual customer requirements with great flexibility, we are in an even better starting position,” notes Thomas Brunner.

A notable edge: synchronous technology

Customer requirements have changed a great deal since Brunner Elektronik was founded. The solutions have evolved from single components and devices to comprehensive control solutions. “Today, customers want comprehensive turnkey solutions from a single source – without any interface issues,” Thomas Brunner explains. “This presents manufacturers like Brunner Elektronik with new challenges. We are constantly looking for new and optimal tools, and Solid Edge ideally supports this search. It gives us the ability to react to customer requirements fast and with great flexibility. Time-to-market is a critical factor as well. Additional processes such as rapid prototyping and 3D modeling help us find and implement final solutions quickly.” These capabilities enable the company to create products without costly and time-consuming prototyping and metalworking processes, and to begin effective production with the first piece.

Brunner Elektronik also values the direct modeling capabilities made possible by the synchronous technology capability of Solid Edge. “We have a large customer who is using another well-known CAD software product,” says Robert Brunner. “Thanks to synchronous technology, modifications to their designs and building new models work absolutely flawlessly, and so does data exchange with third-party software in general.”

Mastering challenges, crossing frontiers

Another challenge mastered by Thomas Brunner and his team is the interaction between internal computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and CNC, Microsoft’s Excel® spreadsheet software and Solid Edge with Insight. Intense cooperation within engineering fosters quality and eliminates errors. “Possible data errors are identified and possible interface problems can be resolved immediately, allowing us to cross frontiers,” says Thomas Brunner. “In the future, distances will also lose their relevance, since work can be done using the same system with the same image, which facilitates much faster action.” Brunner also emphasizes the importance of interfaces to downstream processes: “Interface functionalities to subsequent processes can be implemented error-free, and this also minimizes the risk for our company.”

High-performance solution with a good cost-benefit ratio

“Interaction with customers and suppliers can be greatly improved, risks can be limited or eliminated at an early stage and our time-to-market is much shorter,” says Thomas Brunner. “With Solid Edge, we have acquired a high-performance solution with a very favorable cost-benefit ratio that substantially relieves and supports us in our daily work.”

Brunner Elektronik perceives other distinct benefits. Solid Edge makes it possible to use visualization to point out critical issues to customers in the virtual design stage, to pace the project with them, and to discuss issues. “For us, paperless documentation is of the essence,” says Robert Brunner. “We have more or less everything screen-based. I am at a loss trying to imagine how I worked with 2D drawings not so long ago. This was and is a great achievement in more than one respect.”

After using Solid Edge for 10 years, Thomas Brunner is also thoroughly convinced: “This software is stable and we are totally satisfied. “We can implement virtually everything in-house. Customers benefit directly from this flexibility, and the consequential cost savings represent represents another great benefit for Brunner Elektronik.”

Learn more about EDGE plm software:

EDGE plm software is a privately owned Australian provider of software solutions aimed at the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors. EDGE has been providing engineering design centric solutions since 2004 with over 500 customers across Australia and New Zealand. Typical solutions from EDGE would include the provision of software, maintenance, support, consulting and training services.

The EDGE software portfolio includes CAD, CAM, FEA & PDM solutions and EDGE fully supports and offers training and mentoring services on its entire portfolio. EDGE has been a business partner of UGS/Siemens since 2004. EDGE also configures and sells Dell hardware to assist our customers maximise their software investments. Read more about us…

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EDGE plm understands the importance and training to the successful adoption of our products. However no two companies are the same and their training requirements often require a different or tailored approach which is why we have developed our flexible approach to training and mentoring.

We offer scheduled classroom-style training, bespoke training to suit customer requirements as well as one to one mentoring for any of our customers around Australia and New Zealand. Our Solid Edge training courses are created with the aim to get participants up to speed with current industry software quickly and effectively, giving you and your company the competitive edge.

Our experienced and qualified instructors run a range of training courses designed to suit your exact requirements, whether this consists of scheduled classroom training at our offices, customised courses delivered at your site, or online sessions.

Please call us on 1300 883 653 or send us an email [email protected] for our latest training schedule or to enquire about specialised training and mentoring services.

Solid Edge Foundation Part 1

This course is the follow on from the initial foundation course. It covers a foundation review, providing an opportunity to revisit and answer any questions from the initial course. It covers Drafting in [...]

Solid Edge Foundation Part 2

This course is the follow on from the initial foundation course. It covers a foundation review, providing an opportunity to revisit and answer any questions from the initial course. It covers Drafting in far [...]

Solid Edge Sheet Metal & Framing

The course focuses on sheet metal design tools, from the creation of simple sheet metal folded parts to the adding of deformation features and the subsequent creation of flat pattern blanks and 2D drawings. [...]

Solid Edge Surfacing

Delegates attending this course must have completed the foundation course or have been using Solid Edge for a minimum of 3 months. This course offers an introduction to the concepts of surface modelling, particularly [...]

Solid Edge Advanced Assembly

This course is designed for users that wish to improve their overall Assembly knowledge and students will be given instruction on how to make full use of the advanced assembly modelling functions for both [...]

Solid Edge Advanced Part Modelling

The course aims to improve the productivity of users when designing with Solid Edge. It includes a knowledge assessment test and sessions aimed at the correct approach to advanced modelling techniques for parts and [...]

Femap 101 Training Course

Talk to us to find more details and the next available course. This course designed to improve the productivity of users when designing with Femap. It includes a knowledge assessment test and sessions aimed at [...]

Read the latest news from our blog:

The End of the Powertrain Bias

Internal Combustion Engine vs. Electric Machine, this seems a famous game these days. Media, politicians, OEMs, car owners - all of them have their arguments and for one or the other reasons, they have their vision of where they place themselves in this fight. There is a lot of emotion and mistrust, misinformation and the claim of misinformation, aggression, and response. Diesel bashing here, pointing to insufficient range, burning batteries and recharging of plugin battery-electric vehicles with mobile ICE devices there.

 

The worrying thing to me is that even in our engineering world you get the impression that you have to choose and you have to choose apriori. It seems that even the world of powertrain engineers has become bipolar, you can either be pro-ICE or pro-E, you can either hug your internal combustion engine or tell the people ICE is dead, you can either tell people there is not enough Lithium on earth or oil, you say a V8 is music or it’s noise, you say too much NOx, Soot or CO2 stems from traffic or from power plants, there’s nothing in between. ICE engineers seem to fear someone takes away their beloved baby, E-guy seem to claim the work of thousands of engineers should go to the trash bin right away.

 

I call this the powertrain bias!

 

Now, honestly, like with many topics I have faced in my life I don’t know who is right and I would claim it’s not easy to tell that for anyone. We live in an increasingly complex world and there are many forces at work, legislation, customer expectation, politics, financial interests and finally human emotions. So, as an engineer, you try to rely on something that should give you the answer: pure science. Then you realize: even numbers can be bend, misinterpreted, miscommunicated. It’s clear that oil won’t last forever and that Lithium doesn’t. It’s clear that some may love the sound of an engine and others love the sound of silence. It’s like with anything – even in science - any party will come up with their study of proving they are right.

 

I truly believe it is this powertrain bias that is the most dangerous thing an engineer can jump onto in a world of incredibly fast-paced change.

 

That said, as powertrain engineers, we should share only one common goal and that is, make the move of a person from A to B as efficient, comfortable and – not to forget - enjoyable as possible thereby minimizing the negative impact on other people. I understand there are multiple trade-offs in this performance function and the weighting of the individual performance factors is a highly individual thing. Yet, we all should agree on one minimum consensus: As engineers, it is our job to push the limits of efficient, healthy, enjoyable and comfortable movement as far forward as we can without limiting ourselves in the design space by a-priori (bias) decisions.

 

 Blog_PowertrainBias_Teaser.png

 

Therefore here’s my call to all of you: Don’t get caught in that romantic vs. progressive powertrain trap! ICE guys, get over it and hug an electric machine, it won’t hurt. E-guys, step back and look at the amazing piece of engineering an IC engine effectively is. Let’s stay engineers in first place, push the Pareto front forward and make the best we can within the range of our expertise. Stay cool and fair when doing so. Get in touch with the other side and understand their reasoning. This is not a call for becoming emotionless, but it’s a call to reconsider what we should be emotional about: And that is creating great engineering value with our powertrain solutions. Here is my scientific study on the topic: In all times, 100% of all cars will have a powertrain!

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So let’s all get together at the Simcenter Conference in Prague to celebrate the end of the powertrain bias. With two days of powertrain presentations from ICE to E, from system- through CFD simulation to test the table is all set. Siemens PLM is there to help you, with simulation- and test solutions on the ICE AND the E, there is no either-or in our portfolio, and hey, for those that are already in the middle of it, we have a solution for all you hybrids!

Together, we can make Prague the Woodstock of Powertrain Engineering. Looking forward to seeing you there.

 

With that, I leave it with a

 

“Peace!”,

the first powertrain-hippie on earth

 

 

 

[1] https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/automobiles/wheels/internal-combustion-engine.html

[3] study by the first powertrain hippie on earth

 

 

Towards a unified Simcenter solution for electric machine design


Electric motor.jpgHaving a scalable model enables you to use your favorite system simulation tool for various simulation purposes, all along different design stages.

 

If I look in particular at electric machines, the possibilities are numerous:

  • Simple quasi-static machine models are well suited for power budget or energy management assessment.
  • Simple dynamic models are typically used for machine controls development.
  • Non-linear dynamic equivalent circuit models can give more insight into the motor behavior with high current or under fault conditions.
  • You can also include the machine spatial dependency to take into account the effects of the slots or the magnets shape. This will give you access to torsional vibration analysis and winding current distortions. It could help you validate a controller with a very realistic motor model at early development stages.
  • Co-simulation is an interesting solution in case you need to assess imbalance conditions or high frequency dynamics.Various levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim.pngVarious levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim

On the downside, setting up all those different models require much information which is not so easy to get. Datasheets provide partial data on the main machine behavior. To go further and to fully take benefit of the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution, this is largely insufficient. To address this challenge, you can use Simcenter Amesim in combination with a finite element tool to obtain a reduced model. This is a major enhancement we focus on to reinforce this Simcenter Amesim solution.

 

Thus, Simcenter Amesim offers co-simulation capabilities with Altair Flux and JMAG-RT. Moreover,  recently released Simcenter Amesim 17 supports the import of reduced Simcenter SPEED models, as you can see in the following video:

 

 

 

What is the value for the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution users? 

They can now smoothly pass from a finite element model to a system simulation model without spending hours trying to understand the different software conventions, developing or maintaining complex scripts.

   

The link with other Simcenter solutions such as Simcenter SPEED, Simcenter Motorsolve and Simcenter MAGNET will be continuously strengthened in the upcoming Simcenter Amesim versions. 

Neural networks & digital twins change the O&M in the wind industry

Today wind power represents 4.4% of the total generated power. By 2030, this is to increase up to 20%. The challenges for wind turbine manufacturers are wide-ranging: the aerodynamic performance of the blades, reduce weight, keep noise and vibration levels under control, ensure a durable design and improve its overall system performance.

 

The gearbox is the most critical part of the wind turbine. Either you send a technician up the turbine and do a manual check, or you attach sensors to the gearbox and monitor the results remotely on a computer. Both approaches work to anticipate failures and allow turbine owners to schedule for repairs. Obviously, this comes at a price. A high price. Can’t this be done more cost-effective?

 

Predicting the remaining useful lifetime of each wind turbine gearbox

 

Winergy, a global key provider for wind energy in Germany, teamed up with the Simcenter Engineering experts of Siemens PLM Software to estimate the remaining useful lifetime (RUL) of a complete wind park. Let’s be a bit more specific: 78 wind turbines – 35 SCADA channels – historical data stored over 4 years.

 

The Simcenter Engineering specialists tackled this issue by combining 2 approaches:

 

  1. Neural Networks
    The neural network was fed with information from different SCADA channels on the gearbox in combination with service data. Gearbox temperatures were defined as the most representative signals for a possible failure. Next, the neural network was trained on how a turbine reacts in healthy and faulty conditions. Winergy and Simcenter experts used the technique to accurately predict and detect failures early on.

  2. Digital Twin
    A digital twin makes the bridge between a virtual representation and the physical product. It helps to understand and predict product performance characteristics. Wind turbine modeling was combined with physical validation measurements in 1 turbine to validate the digital twin model. The digital twin model is fed with historic loads extracted from the SCADA in order to predict the remaining useful lifetime of the bearings and gear teeth in each gearbox.

 

This combined approach limits the need for physical prototypes, reduces development time, and improves the quality of the finalized product. 

 

Want to know more? Join us next week at the 11th Annual Offshore Wind Europe Conference & Exhibition in London, UK. Wim Hendricx, Simcenter Engineering expert for the Energy sector, will present this application case on November 28 at 9:20 AM.   

 

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Interesting links:

 

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Is this the electric vehicle that we’ve all been waiting for?

Uniti One is an EV that just makes more sense.

I have to confess: I have caught the Uniti fever. It all started last April when Werner Custers and I shot a little movie at the Uniti headquarters in Lund, Sweden, a hip university town about 30 minutes from Malmo. At this point, Uniti Sweden was still oozing that start-up vibe, but, unlike other stories I have followed over the years, the idea of the Uniti One, well, to paraphrase CEO Lewis Horne, it just made sense. Needless to say, I was hooked.

 

 

You probably noticed that Uniti One is a different kind of car. In a way, it is more of a driving experience than an automobile. Sure, it is a completely wired EV with four wheels, but it is designed for the new era of high-tech car ownership that includes things like car-sharing, subscription programs and possibly delivery-on-the-spot autonomous programs.

 

Uniti One Fleet _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Definitely “not reinventing the wheel”

But the cool thing about Uniti is that the team didn’t stop with just reinventing the EV. Everything was up for disruption in the design and development chain. Need your NX model in VR? Just run it through a gaming engine and put on the VR goggles to see what happens. Forget the formal post-design feedback groups. Just put the car in a well-known electronics retailer for a while and ask to-be consumers what they really think. This disruption meant that the team moved fast – really fast.

 

A key secret to the speedy design process was the fact that Uniti adopted the digital twin idea from day one. The working digital twin, based on NX and Simcenter, was one of the main reasons that a very small team of young engineers could prototype three vehicles in four short months.

 

So what’s next?

After its start-up success, the team knew they had to change gears, roll up their sleeves and work on a production-ready version of Uniti One. They also knew they needed some serious automotive experience on the engineering side. This is why Sally Povolotsky recently joined Uniti.

 

As the Uniti Vehicle Development Director, she is working with her team of experienced automotive engineers at Uniti’s new R&D center in the High-Performance Technology and Motorsport (HPTM) cluster located around Silverstone, the iconic British F1 Grand Prix track. With some serious street cred in the EV and automotive industry, Sally knows what it takes to get a car on the roads of Europe and beyond. (See the attached pdf for the full story.)

 

Uniti One _ small _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Save the planet

So with Uniti One shaping up nicely and an Industry 4.0 digital factory vision in place, Lewis Horne and the Uniti team seem to have their new automotive ecosystem literally on the right track towards a workable and sustainable future. From our side, we will definitely keep our eyes on events in the UK and Sweden for you. To be continued…

 

P.S. By the way, if you caught the Uniti fever as well: you can pre-order yours online for 149 euro at uniti.earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonials

“Using Solid Edge with synchronous technology I can actually do many more iterations now that I wasn’t able to do before. And because of that, the cost of the product comes down. The weight of the product comes down. The performance goes up. The warranty is a lot longer. Quality loves it. We love it. The profit margin loves it.”
John Winter , Mechanical Engineering Manager, Bird Technologies
“Siemens’ synchronous solver overcomes the order dependencies that have plagued history-based CAD programs by solving for the explicit and inferred constraints at the same time. The synchronous solver doesn’t use a history tree, but rather holds user-defined constraints in groups associated with the surfaces to which they apply…Ultimately, though, I believe this to be a transformative technology – one that represents an important inflection point in the CAD industry. If you hear someone say ‘that’s nothing new,’ don’t believe them. Synchronous technology is a big deal.”
Evan Yares, CAD Industry Analyst
“Synchronous technology breaks through the architectural barrier inherent in a history-based modeling system,” “Depending on model complexity and how far back in the history that edit occurs, users will see dramatic performance gains. A 100 times speed improvement could be a conservative estimate.”
Dr. Ken Versprille, PLM Research Director, CPDA
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We can help help you to design better & faster in ways you never thought possible.
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