Digital Twin: bringing CAD drawing virtually ALIVE.
In the pursuit of designing and building high-performance machines the use of Digital Twin technology has become an essential tool at Avercon. It allows for searching the limits of what’s technically possible in mechatronics and fully testing machines and production lines before they get built.
The Digital Twin is a relatively new concept that gets a lot of attention when talking about Industry 4.0 and the Factory of the Future. At Avercon, the use of Digital Twin technology has become an essential part of the process when developing and designing new machines and production lines. With the MCD-tool (Mechatronic Concept Design) from Siemens, CAD drawings are brought virtually alife, meaning that the movements of components and assemblies can be simulated on the screen. This simulation is controlled by the PLC program that will later also control the actual machine. That way the Digital Twin becomes as real as it gets. The movements on the screen aren’t just a visualization of what the machine will do. It involves a full-blown simulation of the physical dynamics and constraints of all the components and their interactions.
“Turning complexity into a competitive advantage.”
A first benefit of using the Digital Twin is to assess whether a machine or production line will work as intended. While that may sound trivial, when searching the boundaries of what’s feasible to reach high speeds, all aspects of the components and their interactions become important. If a change in one part of the machine will have an effect on other parts, the Digital Twin will reveal that. When speeding up the digital version of the machine, the bottlenecks will show up and can be solved in advance.
A second benefit is the ability to develop the software in parallel with designing the mechanics. This not only speeds up the development process – it also allows to fully excel in mechatronics, which by definition means using the combination of mechanics and electronics to solve challenges in the most optimal way.
Thirdly, the Digital Twin makes it possible to fully test a machine or assembly line before it gets built. This again shortens the time to market significantly but it also allows to thoroughly test machines in conditions that may be difficult to simulate on the real machine once it gets built. For product variations, changing parameters and malfunctions of components, the Digital Twin has no issue showing what the effect will be.
For Avercon the Digital Twin has become an essential tool to make sure we deliver on our mission to build state-of-the-art, reliable, high-performance machines and production lines.
Once the Digital Twin is built, it also remains a valuable asset during the complete lifetime of a machine as it allows to test software updates or possible optimalisations without interrupting the production or adding risks in operating reliability. Some examples: product development e-commerce X7, production line for Vandemoortele’s frozen dough, production line for XXL large size products.