Customer
The customer is an Austria-based manufacturer of engine, transmission and emission testing products and supplier to Audi, BMW and other vehicle manufacturers.


Challenge
The customer specializes in sophisticated products and solutions for the automotive industry, including emission testing benches – special multi-component engineering systems. This elaborate and expensive equipment needs to be configured, and each unit sold must be adapted to the specific requirements of the end client. The manual setup of custom configurations, each containing more than 10,000 various parameters, took a whole week or even longer, and the risk of error was relatively high. Both the setup time and the risk of error were unacceptable.


Solution
The solution consisted in developing a wizard that automatically generates configurations to accelerate equipment production. The technology stack was represented by Win32, .Net Framework, C++/C#.


The wizard was supposed to cover about 90% of configurations, except for the cases when the customer adapted its measurement equipment to special client’s requirements.


The project was developed by Applied Systems in cooperation with the customer’s engineers in the EU. A total of six participants from three different locations worked together. The first stable working version of the wizard was released in just four months. Today the project is keeping pace with equipment upgrades: from iteration to iteration the wizard learns more equipment types and options.


Results
The wizard has reduced configuration time to a few hours for a multi-million dollar product. The configuration and most of the panels are generated within one hour. Previously it took up to three days to complete this task.

The wizard has become a very important tool in the production cycle. In the meantime, it allows error-free configuration in all standard cases. For benches with special requirements, it is sometimes the case that handmade configuration elements cause errors. With an error-free basic configuration at hand, it is much easier to detect such errors during bench checkout.