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February 9, 2021

A new division

Two years ago, the Electrical Group within JMP Solutions’ Automation & Robotics Division in London, ON was looking for ways to reduce design hours and improve accuracy on their custom automation projects. Their lead electrical designer and department manager, Lori Russell, was tasked with finding the right tool to support her team. As she compared the feature sets of three leading electrical design software packages, she found EPLAN came out on top and made it her pick for the department. She was quickly proven right thanks to the incredible gains the software has allowed JMP Solutions to make in its first year of usage. 

JMP Solutions is a system integration company providing automated and integrated manufacturing solutions to customers across North America, with 17 business units in the U.S. and Canada, delivering more than 25,000 solutions to 1,000-plus clients over the course of its 30-year history. Last year, the company was the 13th largest System Integrator in North America, according to the CFE’s System Integrator Giants special report.

JMP’s Automation & Robotics division designs, builds and commissions fully integrated robotic automation solutions with a focus on the food & beverage and consumer products industries with some specialty applications in tube & pipe and general industry. Since its inception, the division has been experiencing rapid growth and has a large customer base of innovative manufacturers who seek to gain a competitive advantage and increase efficiency by implementing robotic automation solutions.

Comparing electrical design solutions

Thankfully, the Electrical department is more prepared than ever. “We now use EPLAN on a regular basis”, says Lori. The software has allowed her department to standardize their design process, keep a common nomenclature and ensure consistent wire numbering across the entirety of her projects. Before buying into EPLAN, she built a comparison chart to plot where EPLAN stood against competing electrical design tools. What she found is that EPLAN was not only more consistent, but also faster, more dynamic, and more customizable than the competition. One important aspect is that changes automatically update throughout the entire project with minimum effort on the user’s part.

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Even though Lori had already heard good things about EPLAN from being exposed to the software prior to joining JMP Solutions, it’s only after doing the research and using it herself on a regular basis that she realized how powerful EPLAN was.

Dramatic results

The company currently uses EPLAN Electric P8 licenses along with the Data Portal. The real-life results were surprising even to her. “In the past 10 months, we have done 10 projects with EPLAN and on average, they were under budget by 35-38% and ahead of schedule. “I am sure we would not have had the same impact using a competitor’s product.” Lori explains. “Just the speed and efficiency we gain with EPLAN is pretty huge.” The drawings are more accurate and lead to less redlines, she adds.

Revisions will sometimes only take minutes in EPLAN while taking much longer with another solution.  Once a change is made, it gets reflected across all its corresponding references in the project. That level of reliability is important to JMP Solutions partly because of how they design their equipment.

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As an example, when choosing the enclosures for their panels, JMP Solutions would pick Rittal whenever possible because all the part numbers are in the Data Portal, helping speed up the design process. Also, the modular bay system of the TS8 line is far ahead of what is being offered by competitors in the market. Given that JMP Solutions separates high and low voltage panels in their designs, the baying system of the enclosures make a lot of sense for the company.

Sharing acquired knowledge with other departments

Outside of the Automation and Robotics Division, other JMP Solutions also uses EPLAN in the automotive sector through projects for a large vehicle manufacturer. In addition, a second Automation & Robotics Division facility opened its door this year in Fayetteville, Arkansas and will look to replicate the success of its London counterpart by implementing some of the best practices Lori and her team can offer. To that effect, she aims to create a support network that will connect EPLAN users across all locations and departments in JMP Solutions where they will be able to share templates, macros, tips and other assets.

By leveraging the incremental gains provided by EPLAN, JMP Solutions can build on the strength of its competitive edge to cement its place among North America’s largest system integrators and thanks to its deep knowledge-base on the software, the Automation and Robotics Division’s Electrical Group could play a pivotal role in this journey.

For more information, visit www.eplancanada.com and www.jmpsolutions.com.