Building a digital twin | All the details in advance
When the business case for a new automation project has been approved and the technical solution has been sensed in a feasibility study, the workcell simulation can begin. Now we can go into detail, together with the line builder and the end-customer, and make a validated solution prior to major hardware investments.
If this has not been covered sufficiently in a preliminary study, this is where to start. The primary process is the process that adds value to your product. Where the tool meets the product. This could be a weld, a glue string, a screw process or similar. Understanding the primary process is essential to success for the whole project. Only when all parties agree on the primary process, we zoom out and focus on hardware and programming
Together with customer and Line Builder we come up with the final concept, either based on a feasibility study or from scratch. This holds both standard automation equipment and special machinery that needs to be developed for the project.
The digital twin is the ideal centre point of all technical project information. The 3D layout is an objective representation offering full detail and is therefore highly qualified to represent the project master data.
Based on the master layout it is possible to do a detailed robot process simulation with a full process, correct speeds, motion types, reach and collision analysis.
On top of the detailed process simulation a complete workcell, or line, can be simulated. This can be done to the extent that it makes sense and contributes to the development of a complete cycle with material feed-in, conveyor motions, handling etc.
As during the feasibility study, Design for Manufacturing is highly relevant to the extend it is possible. Small design changes on the product can many times easy the manufacturing automation remarkably and improve the overall business case.
Detailed 3D layout and simulation offers great input to Functional Requirement Specifications for both the complete workcell and critical machinery.
The fact that we are working with the master data often makes it quite natural to take on a coordinating role on the technical side. This ensures single-point-of-entry to the master data and reduces uncertainty about interfaces between the different sub-contractors and the end-customer.