Ever wish you could see how something will work before building it out? The obvious answer is “yes”, seeing as that's part of why you use CAD, but have you ever thought you could emulate an entire factory, control system and all? Well, you can...

We’re pleased to announce that Emulate3D can now be found on the Onshape App Store. With this integration, Emulate3D and Onshape will provide the smoothest transfer of data to/from MCAD to Emulate3D. 

Visit the App Store

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we need to first introduce Emulate3D.

What is Emulate3D? 

Every automated material handling system (AMHS) project presents its own specific set of challenges that require unique solutions. Despite the use of many standard components, every automation system is – at its core – a prototype, which requires thorough testing during the commissioning phase. 

Emulate3D is used to create a digital twin of these automation systems enabling the majority of the commissioning phase to be completed virtually, earlier in the project cycle, and at a much lower cost than traditional techniques.

An MCAD corollary to this is comparing FEA testing to that of physical prototyping. 

This digital twin created in Emulate3D not only helps in the design of systems and controls, but goes beyond that. End users can be shown operational sequences and operators can be trained on the real system responses. This will result in fewer mistakes as they become accustomed to the new system, but it also enables feedback on the interface designs and screen layouts ensuring the human/machine interface (HMI) is cohesive. The fine positioning of sensors can be determined, and functional parameters tested and optimized.

As we get into the finer details, such as “the positioning of sensors and screen layouts,” we need to take another step back. Where is that data coming from originally? From a mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) tool: Onshape. 

The Onshape to Emulate3D Workflow

Since you’re reading this blog on the Onshape site, I imagine you already know the benefits of Onshape. This cloud-native MCAD tool is rapidly being adopted for its powerful data management, its collaboration capabilities, and ease of use.

If you create your system in Onshape with all of the proper mates, mates limits and more, this connection will enable you to take those kinematics to Emulate3D automatically.

To see a short example of the Onshape to Emulate3D workflow, watch the following video:

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Emulate3D Onshape

Why Virtual Protoyping?

By combining mechanical CAD information with real control system logic you can create a valuable testbed in the form of a dynamic digital twin.

The benefits of dynamic virtual prototyping with Emulate3D and Onshape include:

  • Faster automation project development

  • Thorough logic sequence and timing verification

  • Eliminate or reduce costly physical prototypes

  • Effective and non-disruptive user training

  • And you can make renderings that look like this...

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Emulate3D CITM Model of the Rockwell Automation Contactor Line

Contact the Emulate3D team for more information

To learn more about Onshape's integrated cloud partner apps, visit the Onshape App Store.