Other challenges include generating X-ray radiation and the safety precautions this requires, defining the path of the X-ray with a wide range of optical components, and detecting the X-ray emissions are excited or bent by the material samples being investigated. Bruker AXS provides a wide range of 0D, 1D, and 2D X-ray detectors for this purpose. Moreover, samples can be analyzed automatically and linked to generic laboratory automation solutions.
It is easy to imagine the functions that the harness must perform so that all device parts, motors, switches, sensors, interlocks, etc. function intelligently and optimally. The electrical design needed is very different than that needed for control cabinet construction, and is also not comparable with the cable harness design used in the automotive industry. A new approach is therefor needed.
In order to describe and model such complete systems at all levels powerful CAD and/or ECAD systems are needed. Bruker AXS uses SolidWorks in its mechanical design department and has installed around 15 E3.series workstations in the electrical design department. Various established systems were put through their paces. Zuken’s E3.series, a system developed in Ulm, Germany, came out on top. “The scope of function provided by this system allows us to best map our X-ray analysis systems,” says Binkele.
The Bruker AXS D8 DISCOVER X-ray diffractometer analyzes the inner
structures of materials.
Example of a schematic concept at high abstraction level, developed with E3.series. Note the photorealistic insertion of electronic parts, which greatly improves understanding.
More reasons for selecting E3.series included:
- An analysis device may be mapped in various abstraction layers, i.e. one block diagram level with illustrations and real images, one wiring level, and one level with detailed manufacturing drawings. Links ensure rapid navigation between the various hierarchical levels.
- E3.series allows the technician to depict a device in many different ways. It also ensures well-structured device documentation that complies with standards and is consistent with internal standards.
- Multi-user and multi-language capability were considered essential features in E3.series.
Before we take a closer look at how the system is actually used, let’s look at the software itself.
Comprehensive CAD solution
E3.series is Zuken’s modular, scalable CAD system for the engineering, design, documentation, and manufacturing of
wiring, harnesses, cable assemblies, control panels, and hydraulic and pneumatic systems. It uses an object-oriented data structure and a common core.
Data is transferred between the various modules, providing optimum user support throughout the entire design process,
from development to production. This reduces errors, increases quality, and allows engineering changes to be completed much
Zuken provides editions tailored to the following industries:
Bruker uses the E3.cable (Professional) and E3.panel (Basic) modules.
Flexible processes – for use at all levels
Cable drawing showing plugs
"E3 .series maps all the device wiring of an X-ray analysis system,” says Fink, describing how ECAD systems are mostly used at Bruker. This means it considers all electronic control and wiring assemblies, as well as all sensors and actuators. The product development, device assembly, testing, and customer service departments make intensive use of the device documentation produced with E3.series during the entire product lifecycle.
Now we consider the process itself: “One of the good things about E3.series is that it doesn’t dictate where you have to start. Within a project, users can start with the main assembly they consider most effective,” says Binkele. “During the development process, distinctions are made between:
- logical level (block diagrams)
- wiring level
- detailed drawing level.“
“All three levels are fully interlinked“, says Fink. “We work both top-down and bottom-up. The project and the amount of time we have available determine how we proceed.”
Sometimes the users start with a device component for which a prototype is urgently required. This component becomes a priority and is integrated in the overall plan later on. “At other times a technician may start at the very bottom with a cable drawing and the cable manufacturer quickly turns this into a sample which is tested in the real world right away,” continues Fink.
When the Karlsruhe-based company starts work on a new large project, it usually puts together a team of several development engineers and electrical technicians. The development engineers specify the top and medium wiring level and the technicians work with these to produce the detailed drawings, culminating in the cable production drawings. This is easily done since the ECAD system allows for multiple users.
Bruker produces detailed drawings for both individual connection cables and harnesses. These are then turned into cables by external manufacturers who produce all the resources required, such as a formboard.
The completed harnesses are installed in the devices by Bruker so they can be verified. They are then optimized in the virtual world and then again in the real world. “They should be ready for volume production by the end of the first iteration at the very latest,” adds Fink.
Jürgen Fink (left) and Matthias Binkele.
Once the optimum device documentation structure for Bruker AXS had been developed in a pilot project and the integrated
ECAD system database had been adapted and added to, all the X-ray analysis systems can now be fully depicted in E3
“We are now experiencing a noticeable increase in productivity because we have slashed the time it takes to develop the first
sample or pre- series device. Manufacturing drawings for individual connection cables can be produced from the wiring drawings in a highly automated fashion,” says Fink.
Compared with how employees used to work, the quality of wiring and manufacturing drawings has also vastly improved. This results in higher quality device cabling and means that fewer iteration stages are needed in the development phase. In addition to the benefits outlined above, E3.series has proven to be highly effective in analyzing device defects. The system allows individual signals to be easily tracked from the sensor/actuator through the wiring assemblies to the control electronics.
Bruker is also full of praise for Zuken.
“Whenever we needed anything, they were always quick to help out. We are delighted with the support provided by Zuken,” stresses Binkele. “The same applies to the ongoing development of the system. Capabilities that we hoped for five years ago have now become reality.”