Digital twin. Depict today. Control tomorrow.
A guest article about the digital twin by Mathias Stach, Managing Director ASCon Systems GmbH
Why the digital twin is an absolute must for the factory without light and why fully automated production will increase rapidly in the coming years. A guest article by Mathias Stach, Managing Director of ASCon Systems GmbH.
The factory without light is a synonym for autonomous or fully automated production. Fully automated production does not work without the digital twin. We are observing that both global players and medium-sized companies are increasingly looking into the possibility of fully automated production. The degree of automation in industry is generally increasing and to this extent companies need digital monitoring and control options. In the case of digital monitoring we speak of a digital shadow, and only in the case of digital control we speak of a digital twin. For us at ASCon Systems, the digital twin is only a real twin, if it virtually represents both the digital planning process and the real production or logistics process with all the systems, tools, conveyor technology, actuators and sensors involved. Above all, however, it must map the semantic context, which means that the digital twin must know the behaviour of the plant and the interdependencies of the components to each other.
Maturity and trust as important hurdles
Fully automated production is the current top topic and the share of fully automated production will increase rapidly in the coming years. We are currently experiencing different speeds of how quickly companies are implementing such a thing. And this depends on the one hand on the technological maturity level and on the other hand on the history of the companies. Autonomous manufacturing implies drastic changes in manufacturing processes and IT. Because the way companies are positioned in production today, they are drawing on the know-how and processes of recent decades – and usually very successfully. The degree of organizational maturity plays a major role in this context. Companies must therefore ask themselves whether they are prepared to allow changes and redistribute responsibilities.
Germany and Europe are taking the first steps towards fully automated production. In other countries the situation is already different. If we look at China, for example: there are no companies with a 100-year tradition. Production there is being completely restructured from the very beginning, without having to fight a history. The vision of a deserted factory is rather difficult to implement in Europe. We have a different picture here of how production has to be carried out and what role mankind should play in it. It can be assumed that there will be increasing human-machine collaboration, and this is exactly what the digital twin can do very well.
Source: Ingenics Magazine, Ausgabe 03/2020
Autor: Mathias Stach