Diverse production automation needs the most suitable software. There are many different types of industrial software available on the market. You may find it difficult to immediately judge whether a specific software ticks all the boxes you need for the digital transformation of your shop floor. To support your search for the right software solution for all your automation needs, we put together a comprehensive questionnaire.
Identify core issues in production and define your specific needs in relation to your existing software and hardware configuration
- Do you use multiple brands of robots in your factory?
- Do you use different CNC driven machines and need to write NC code?
- Do you use PLC controls and need to troubleshoot PLC ladder?
- Is your company ready to deal with small-batch and product changes effectively and how often?
- What CAD software does your company already use for Product /Project design or to interface with external supplier or customer data?
- Make a list of questions and discuss them with your department heads.
Match your robot and machine requirements with the features of different software solutions
- Does the software support multi-brand robots and/or CNCs in the same session?
- What are the size or format or compatibility restrictions of part or tooling data import?
- Does the software process CAD data for all mayor CAD systems (e.g. Solidworks, CATIA, Inventor, Siemens NX, PTC Creo, etc.) without loosing CAD math kernel data?
- Can the software communicate with product and tooling design by means of e.g. CAD export as exact geometry or only as tessellated?
- Does CAD system prefer to get exact surface geometry back from the Simulation software (e.g. Parasolid) or in Tessellated (IGES) format, so that data is not lost or corrupted?
- Can the software cope with complex trajectory programming within itself, without a need to connect to another CAD/CAM software or scripting?
- Can software simulate more than just robot motion, so that I can validate an entire process of loading a part, closing clamps/grippers, sensors locations, etc.?
- Can software simulate (Logic, Behaviour) so I can make sure my programs are bound to work before loading in the production cell (line)?
Match your digital transformation objectives with the with the features of different software solutions
- Does the software offer more than Offline Programming? What other aspects of smart manufacturing does the software support?
- Can the software simulate an entire production line? Or is it restricted to a single production cell? Does the software support a “digital twin” concept?
Check User Experience and its costs
- Is the software cumbersome to operate? Is the human-machine interface user-friendly?
- How much training would your team need approximately? And what features does the software offer to pass on learnings and best practice to others?
Check Software Company Background and Service / Support availability
- What services does the company offer and how is it charged?
- Can the company support you in all locations (countries) you have production facilities?
- Does the company offer support services beyond just sales and remote tech support?