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Volkswagen VASS Standard: now expanded with 3D functionality and state-of-the-art control cabinet technology

2020-07-29. Volkswagen has recently released the sixth genera-tion of its VASS (Volkswagen Audi Seat Skoda) Standard, which includes an update to Eplan Version 2.9. The standard – used in production plants for models on the MEB platform – has also been expanded with 3D functionality in switchgear system engineering and with data for bi-directional exchange with PLC project planning tools. The new VX25 control cabinet system from Rittal has additionally been integrated into the standard.

Volkswagen’s decision to start providing its suppliers with 3D data based on Eplan Pro Panel in the VASS standard libraries means that the complete digital twins of control cabinets and the installed components can be depicted. Previously, only 2D representations from Eplan Electric P8 were included in the standard. For suppliers, this creates the foundation for entering into and expanding automated manufacturing steps in control cabinet and switchgear system engineering: from mechanical NC machining to automated terminal assembly to wire processing and wiring support. Companies benefit from the fully developed design templates provided by Volkswagen that can be used as a basis for faster and higher-quality system engineering, manufacturing and commissioning.

Uniform plant system documentation

Eplan Strategic Account Manager Andreas Bamberg explains: “The additional 3D functionality from Eplan Pro Panel makes it possible to directly derive manufacturing information for automated control cabinet and switchgear system engineering. Engineering offices further benefit from the integrated collision check and thermal power dissipation considerations for components, enabling optimised component placement in the cabinet and a more energy-efficient design for Rittal climate control systems.”

An extra benefit: the addition of key control technology information to the device and project data enables completely bi-directional data exchange between Eplan (hardware engineering) and the Siemens TIA Portal (software project planning) using the AML interface. “This considerably reduces the efforts required in engineering and for system planning since the PLC hardware structures, pre-defined inputs and outputs and bus topologies can be imported directly from Eplan, not to mention the exact port wiring,” Bamberg says. During plant system operations and for later modifications or expansions, the information from TIA Portal can be fed back into the Eplan Project. This ensures uniform, error-free plant system documentation “as built” and shorter entry processes for integration into digital production management.

State-of-the-art control cabinet technology

Rittal, with its large control cabinets and small enclosures, has been a part of Volkswagen’s corporate standard for years, just like Eplan. As Global Key Account Manager Automotive Markus Hülsmann at Rittal says: “The current release of the VASS V6 library delivers fully integrated reference control cabinets in 3D based on the new Rittal VX25 control cabinet system.” It also includes fully integrated enclosure accessories and ten variants of the AirSTREAM mounting frame from the company Friedrich Lütze, which can be selected directly from a list of accessories and placed as a complete macro. Hülsmann continues, “This considerably reduces the work required in engineering since the components can start being placed directly in the cabinet after just a few clicks.” Future VASS releases will include libraries expansions with the Rittal AX and KS enclosures and the respective sample assemblies. Associated enclosure macros in 3D are already available in Eplan Data Portal and can be used when designing with Pro Panel.

The goal: digital manufacturing

Automobile production is becoming increasingly challeng-ing, including ever shorter start-up times, individualised design efforts, new control technologies and high demands on maintenance and repair to name just a few. Volkswagen is diligently working on further developing automation standards, which are then passed down to the company’s suppliers. Daniel Gräser in the Division for Manufacturing Automation and Digital Production at Volkswagen says, “This expansion of the VASS Standard with the newest aspects of Eplan’s engineering software and Rittal’s state-of-the-art system technology means we’re ideally supporting our suppliers in realising digital and automated manufacturing processes. At the same time, we are also adding an important component along the path we’ve started towards the digital factory.” After all, the digital twin of the control cabinet as part of the production process is an essential foundation for fully digital operating and maintenance processes of the future.

International service support

Since 2018, Eplan has been offering a three-day VASS V6 Training for suppliers in English and German. It lays the international foundation for successful project planning according to this standard. Along with regular dates in Germany, initial trainings have also been conducted in the US and in China.