The initial situation
At the new body shop of the substructure manufacturer ThyssenKrupp System Engineering in Mühlacker, Germany, an automatic guided vehicle system (AGV) was to be introduced for in-house transport.
The fleet manager of the AGV was to be contracted directly from SAP EWM.
The operator of the car body plant commissioned A+K to create the necessary interface software.
The order encompassed all necessary coordination with the SAP team, the AGV team and the operator team as well as the creation and commissioning of the required software.
On the side of SAP EWM, the customer wanted to control the AGV with standard IDOCs. The IDOCs
- WMTOID01 – Warehouse task
- WMTCID01 – Acknowledge warehouse task
- WMCAID01 – Cancellation
were to be used.
On the side of the AGV, the customer wanted to implement communication via interface tables in a database.
After clarifying the information to be exchanged, the following solution was created:
An MS SQL database and the SAP connector based on NCO were installed on a virtual Windows PC. The SAP connector is used to receive and send IDOCs with SAP.
The necessary information is taken from the IDOCs received from SAP (warehouse task, cancellation) and entered into the interface tables of the AGV.
The required IDOCs are created (confirmation, cancellation) on the basis of the feedback from the AGV and transferred to SAP.
Both directions are processed with the tRFC protocol to avoid data loss.
The commissioning process
Installation and commissioning were carried out completely remotely.
The challenge for the technicians on the operator's side was to configure all communication paths and the communication interface in SAP completely and correctly. Since the SAP system is hosted in an external data centre, many network components and firewalls had to be configured correctly until the first IDOC could be transferred.
It turned out to be advantageous that a lead time of five days was planned for the first SAP connection setup.
Once communication with SAP was up and running, the actual commissioning was completed very quickly.
Since the interface software works completely transparently, the actual commissioning process was ultimately carried out only by the AGV supplier's personnel and the SAP programmers. A+K merely checked the communication on a random basis in the following days to see whether any unexpected problems arose. However, this was not the case.
The integration of an AGV into SAP can be implemented quickly and easily. The reason for this is that interface software does not contain any process logic.
If the interface software is smartly developed, it is impossible for the interface to “jam”.
As a precaution, you should always plan for a lead time of three to five days for commissioning until communication with SAP is functioning reliably.
You should always keep a log of the messages exchanged. This shortens the in-house testing and commissioning process and supports the maintenance personnel in the event of a fault.
Scope of services of A+K
- Clarification of the interfaces with SAP personnel and AGV personnel
- Conception of the interface software
- Software development and in-house testing
- Remote commissioning of the interface software
- Go-live monitoring with random checks
Scope of services