For automotive manufacturers, the advantages of control system standardization are well understood. Behind every vehicle launch are hundreds of machines – and multiple equipment builders and line providers.
We all know when suppliers apply the same specifications to control system design, everything is easier and more efficient – from initial integration to training, maintenance and spare parts management.
Defining and maintaining a control specification for automotive applications is no easy task. However, because standardization is critical to manufacturing optimization, established automotive brand owners devote significant engineering resources to doing just that.
But what if you’re an electric vehicle (EV) startup – or a Tier supplier or line builder who serves them?
Control Specification Challenges for EV Startups
While new EV manufacturers typically have adequate funding – and an exciting product – they may struggle to create and maintain a control standard. Here are three reasons why:
- EV startups typically lack the manufacturing history and internal expertise to guide specification definition.
- Engineering resources are focused on innovation, design guidelines, vendor selection – and speeding vehicles to market. This leaves little time for developing a seamless control specification solution from the ground up – and maintaining it.
- Oftentimes, new EV entrants underestimate the challenges – and time – involved in achieving consensus across their organization regarding a control specification.
Although a control specification may have little impact on product innovation, EV startups and Tier suppliers begin to feel the pain as they scale up from prototype builds to commercial production. Without a well-defined specification, the burden of control systems and strategies falls to the individual machine and line builders.
The result? Inconsistent systems that can cause significant re-engineering and delays that impact a vehicle launch schedule. Plus integration, maintenance and training challenges throughout the system lifecycle.
Now There’s a Better Way
RapidLaunch, the new Rockwell Automation Automotive Solution is changing the equation for EV manufacturers – and others in the automotive ecosystem who do not have the resources or time to create their own control standard.
RapidLaunch delivers a globally supported platform to develop, manage and maintain a specification over time in an easy-to-implement, downloadable package.
Based on expertise gained through more than 100 years of experience working in the automotive sector, RapidLaunch leverages our wide portfolio of products and services. And supports an end-to-end solution designed to enable control system consistency – and speed time to market for a new vehicle launch or refresh.
How It Works
At the heart of RapidLaunch is a standard code library representing thousands of devices – and encompassing system logic, HMI faceplates and integrated diagnostics. The reusable libraries extend to automotive-specific equipment and can expand to support complete machines or a comprehensive process, such as a paint shop or final assembly.
In addition, the framework supports a digital engineering workflow – with each object designed to be virtually commissioned in a 3D simulation environment.
Beyond the code libraries, RapidLaunch will include safety and network guidelines, and standard interfaces for MES, analytics and IIoT applications.
And to keep it simple, we manage the framework and add new products and technologies as they evolve, so the specification is always up to date.
What does this mean for EV manufacturers, Tier suppliers and machine builders?
- Predefined and reusable code means your system developers configure more and program less, saving significant time from the outset.
- Anyone in the automotive ecosystem adopting the control standard will use the same libraries and follow the same rules, reducing line integration risks and speeding startup.
- Standards-based visualization delivers a consistent environment that eases design, operation and troubleshooting – and lowers training requirements.
- Simulated code and simulation software is a game changer that streamlines line commissioning, especially for machine builders who can test and run their equipment virtually and validate the code long before arriving on site.
- RapidLaunch is future ready and designed to support the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other emerging technologies that can drive manufacturing optimization.
- Because Rockwell Automation maintains the framework, your engineers can focus on innovation – not time-consuming specification management.
Together, these benefits add up to more system consistency, faster startup, less training, better productivity – and better use of your engineering talent – for the life of the vehicle program.
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