At this year’s Hannover Messe, Eplan and its affiliate Cideon are launching ‘Syngineer’ – a communication and information platform offering a foundation for companies in machine and plant engineering. MCAD, ECAD and PLC software are all interfaced directly through the mechatronic structure. It aims simplify synchronisation across disciplines and thereby accelerate design engineering and development processes in mechanical engineering, controls engineering and software engineering.

Hannover will mark the start of ‘Syngineer.’ This new communication and information platform enables mechatronic operations within teams and across engineering disciplines. It offers a simple introduction to mechatronics engineering that supports collaboration in mechanical and controls engineering and PLC software. Syngineer models the mechatronic structure of the machine consisting of your specifications, functions and components. The communication platform provides a scalable entry for companies of any size that are seeking effective engineering support, rapid direct communication and efficient results. All the machine’s requirements receive mechatronic definitions within Syngineer to transparently represent them for all participating engineering disciplines. President at Eplan and Cideon Maximilian Brandl explains: “With Syngineer we’re establishing a collective view of the machine to be constructed. Coordinating and administrative efforts between various engineering processes are structured and automated so that design engineering and development processes are parallelised, making them considerably shorter.”

Synchronisation of engineering processes
A prerequisite for this, however, is that all of the engineering disciplines taking part in the process agree on a clear, uniform and transparent mechatronic structure. Requirements and functionalities are defined and documented within this structure so that, as an example, customer requirements and their implementation in technologies and functions form the basis of this structure. This can in turn then be particularized down to the level of the mechatronic components. The spectrum of possibilities ranges from simple to very complex structures in the field of systems engineering.

Add-in for authoring systems
The various authoring systems – Eplan, MCAD and PLC software – are linked through a browser add-in and thus connected to the communication platform. Furthermore, a variety of MCAD systems can also take advantage of the same communication process. In a second step, the parallelisation of the engineering processes of the various disciplines – which nowadays can frequently be sequentially run through – can be substantially in-creased. To this end, components within the authoring systems are linked to the mechatronic structure in Synigneer via drag-and-drop. Eplan as manufacturer of CAE software and Cideon as specialist for mechanical engineering processes and CAD software both contribute their expertise. The first collaboration with 3S-Smart Software Solutions (Codesys) also incorporates expert knowledge in the area of PLC software development; the leading specialist in the area of automation developed the PLC program modules synchronisation as well as the control simulation as add-in. Naturally the communication platform was conceived to be an open system so that additional authoring systems may be integrated in the future.

Interdisciplinary processes
Cloud technology is required in order to effectively network the disciplines. It offers the option to communicate with one another in real time and across locations. A host is installed in the cloud for this that enables access through a browser. Changes or new specifications can be assigned directly to the respective disciplines involved. All will subsequently be informed simultaneous-ly and, after completing the commission, can update the mechatronic completion status. Automatic notifications of changes prevent mistakes and secure cross-departmental communications.

Commentary and chat functions
Once the authoring systems are linked via the communication platform, design engineers can additionally communicate online via the chat function. Furthermore, design engineers are informed about changes in other areas through a system of automatic notifications. As an example, the mechanical engineer and software developer automatically receive a notification when the electrical engineer changes an electric motor for a different model. They can then double-check to see if this change affects their own work.

Mechatronic bill of materials
What’s crucial is that Syngineer does not compete with PDM or PLM systems, but instead expands their functionality. Discipline-specific processes will still be managed within the usual PDM/PLM system. Interfacing components from the discipline-specific authoring systems with the communication platform results in information from the interface that transmits the ‘building instructions’ for the mechatronic bill of materials to the PDM/PLM system. Because of this, the mechanical and electrotechnical bill of materials no longer need to be manually synchronised to avoid duplicates when ordering. A requirement for this is that both the mechanical design and the electrical construction have an interface to the PDM/PLM system, one that has already been developed by Eplan and Cideon for many PDM/PLM systems.

Benefits of Syngineer at a glance:

  • Complete transparency: about the status and degree of completion in product development across all par-ticipating engineering disciplines
  • Optimal collaboration: integration of authoring systems enables the interfacing of components with the mechatronic structure
  • Deep integration: MCAD, ECAD and PLC systems are directly connected to each other through the mecha-tronic structure
  • Scalable entry: Syngineer offers the possibility to gradually work your way into the topic of mechatronic engineering
  • Information exchange in real time: always up to date about changes and the current project status
  • Direct communication: design engineers can com-municate with other disciplines participating in the engineering process via Syngineer
  • Mechatronic bill of materials: the building instructions for a synchronised mechatronic bill of materials is transmitted to the respective PDM/PLM system.
  • Openness: Syngineer is open for connectivity to other authoring and PDM/PLM systems through its software architecture

For more details, please visit the Eplan website at