Developing pneumatic systems with HydroSymThe conversion from the design software to pneumatics has paid for itself many times over.
Manufacturer of diving applications IHC Hytech standardised and improved the design process with the design software HydroSym of Paro Engineering. To integrate the software into the production process of IHC Hytech, a conversion of the hydraulics to pneumatics was needed. In the end, this was well worth it. The new standard for the design led to a strong improvement and increased the speed of the design and thinking processes.
IHC Hytech develops and supplies commercial and military diving applications to a wide range of customers. The company, which forms part of the shipbuilding company Royal IHC, supplies custom-built diving applications such as decompression tanks and hyperbaric oxygen treatment rooms that are used in the offshore industry. In addition to this, IHC Hytech is supplier of the decompression units used by the Belgian and Dutch navy on minesweeper vessels. It is proof of the high quality of the equipment, of which each part of the pneumatic system has been designed perfectly to perform accurately under water.
Improving the uniformity
Just like many other engineering businesses, IHC Hytech realised its designs for pneumatic installations in generic design software used for a wide range of other engineering purposes before HydroSym was launched. In this design software, loose symbols from the pneumatic schematics were copied on and on, says engineer Joost Voermans of IHC Hytech. Due to the copying, the symbols often changed size while the component remained the same. This led to a lack of uniformity in the designs. In addition to this, essential details of components and background information were not seldom lost. Not only the design, but the consecutive performance phase can also see improved efficiency through a new working method. During the design process, components in the design schematics of a pneumatic system were manually numbered, continues Voermans. This numbering was meant to support the creation of a list for the realisation of the system. That was the basis for the manual creation of a list in a spreadsheet. It was both time consuming to check a complicated design and often different names were used for the same components. This caused some uncertainties that cost more time and led to a higher risk of mistakes.
“Paro Engineering has shown that it is an excellent partner that cooperates with its customers and is open to improve its products. The quality of the software is excellent, partly because of the very frequent updates based on consumer input. Paro Engineering has grown into a full partner of IHC Hytech for both the realisation and the use of the software.Joost Voermans
More efficient methods
IHC Hytech started looking for a different working method that would be more effective at supporting the design and production of pneumatic systems. Within the Royal IHC company the subsidiary IHC Hytop had gained some positive experiences with the HydroSym software of Paro Engineering for the realisation of hydraulic systems, continues Voermans. In addition, there was sufficient overlap between both fields of work to consider the use of HydroSym. Early in the design of such system you work with a diagram. It consists of components that are connected by pipes and valves in a similar manners, according to Voermans. “The fact that the final systems have a different purpose is not so relevant during the initial design. Important qualities such as the quick design of schematics and the automatic assigning of numbers would also benefit IHC Hytech.” Paro Engineering created custom-made quality software by developing a new database with pneumatic information. All relevant components within the engineering unit are categorised individually. The components were not categorised solely on their function when they were first entered, but also based on important component variables including pressure, flow and connecting size. Also, every component has been linked to its unique data specification, to ensure that underlying supply information can be accessed with several mouse clicks in the design programme. The operating interface of the HydroSym software takes some getting used to according to Voermans. Thanks to the logical lay-out and the many functionalities to create designs quickly, schematics can be designed in a short space of time after just a little bit of practise. The connections between the components can be grabbed and moved quickly. This saves a lot of time compared with standard design software in which components and connections between components are manually designed.
The number codes used for the components in the database met the system of the ERP-package of IHC Hytech. This meant that the Bill of materials lists, made by HydroSym based on drawings, could be exported to the ERP system as an XML file. Previously, that would have been manual work. In addition to a faster import, the details can also be altered more easily. If a change is made in the list, the change is passed through in the schematics as the information remains linked. This creates a higher efficiency for the processing activities in a project, states Voermans. At the same time, a reduction on sporadic registration mistakes. The prevention of typing and copying mistakes has increased the quality and run time of projects. The completion of the database was reached within the set period of two months. Paro Engineering has shown that it is an excellent partner that cooperates with its customers and is open to improve its products. The quality of the software is excellent, partly because of the very frequent updates based on consumer input. Paro Engineering has grown into a full partner of IHC Hytech for both the realisation and the use of the software.