Case study | Swiss manufacturer of laser cutting machines

Software Development and QA Services for a Manufacturer of Laser Cutting Machines

Heavy industry seems to be a very conservative branch of the economy; on the other hand, the most advanced and cutting-edge Industry 4.0 solutions are created here. Modern industrial automation, ubiquitous software, and the challenges which have mainly affected software development companies to date are now the bread and butter in companies from this sector.

Country:Switzerland
Year:2017 - ongoing
Project scope:Software development of Industry 4.0 solutions
Technologies:PLC, .Net

Client

An international leader in the laser cutting machine industry was looking for a technology partner that would be able to meet complex technological and competence requirements.

The main challenges of the project

The client invests vast resources to ensure that the machines produced by the company are the most advanced on the market. The development of machines, as well as the introduction of solutions supporting smart factories to the range of solutions offered by the company, necessarily requires investment in software development projects. The company had previously used internal resources for this; however, this did not always bring the expected results. Therefore, management decided to find a technological partner to audit the existing solutions in order to propose the best ones, and with the necessary competences to implement and maintain custom systems.

Project scope

  • development of industrial PLC software (Beckhoff PLC software), as part of a control system for machines manufactured by the company and a material transport system,
  • development of computer-aided design software for end-users. Software for designers to create plans for elements cut by machines,
  • development of software for machine operators. The software supports the interface on the operator panel, and enables the selection of a project for cutting material as well as management of the production process from the machine level,
  • development of service software to analyze the state of the system (laser machines, as well as automation of materials transportation, etc.), for machine and system service technicians,
  • creating a quality policy and test process for all the customer’s software development projects.

JCommerce team

The team includes engineers experienced in the field of industrial automation, control systems and modern solutions in the machine industry, as well as .Net developers, mobile developers and software testers. JCommerce specialists work closely with engineers employed by the client and are managed by the client’s Project Managers to carry out all the tasks entrusted to them together.

Business benefits

New functionalities and a decrease in the number of errors have already resulted, but optimization of the client’s complex IT environment is a long-term process and is still underway. However, the project has already achieved the first tangible results:

  • the change in internal data exchange algorithms in PLC reduced the processor load from almost 100% to less than 30%. As a result, there was no longer any need to upgrade the PLC with the higher, more efficient, but also much more expensive model,
  • the optimization of the system snapshots procedure for service purposes shortened the time taken for snapshot saving from 90 seconds to less than one second, and made the whole procedure more effective and much more reliable.

Future

Currently the team are working on the next stage of the project. The results of the work currently being undertaken are highly rated by the client, so an expansion of the team is planned, as is entrusting JCommerce engineers with the development of software for other machines from the client’s wide-ranging portfolio.

In addition, the client has decided to migrate its IT infrastructure to the cloud environment, and the transfer of the first solutions, such as JIRA, to Microsoft Azure is planned in the near future.

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