Table of contents:
- Digital twin maps every production step
- Networking of components should enable the production of unique items
Video: How The Digital Twin Makes Lot Size 1 Possible
Today's production is often very rigid. The work processes are defined in advance, it is rotated, milled and measured one after the other. If a machine fails or the customer changes his order, production has to be changed. And that takes time and money.
If the workflow could be developed flexibly, the work steps would no longer come from the central control program, but from the component itself. Each part could decide for itself how it would best run through the process chain. A dream? When it comes to developers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, it doesn't work at all. They are currently working on the "Service-oriented architecture for adaptive and networked production" system, which should do just that.
Digital twin maps every production step
Similar to a navigation system in the car, which uses current data to calculate the fastest route in real time, information is first saved for each component, which specifies which production steps it should go through. It is initially open which machine is used. Only when a processing step is pending should the system select the one from the suitable machines that is available as quickly as possible. So that a component is recognized individually, it carries a QR code.
According to the researchers, the software remembers how a component was machined at every production step - for example, "Hole is drilled with machine parameter A and tool X". This history creates a so-called digital twin or digital twin - the user can see what has already been processed on a component and which steps are still to be done. The digital twin could be particularly interesting for manufacturers who produce batches of different components. Because when switching to a new workflow, no systems would have to be converted.
Networking of components should enable the production of unique items
The "Smart Manufacturing Network" or "intelligent manufacturing network" manages the digital twin. Afterwards, it should analyze the process data and use it further to increase process robustness and product quality. "In the future, by networking components and machines, companies will be able to produce one-offs one after the other, that is, batches with a batch size of 1," says Michael Kulik, who as project manager at Fraunhofer is co-developing the new software.
The menu should allow the user to configure the order of the production process. He draws individual work steps from a list of all services into the desired process chain using drag and drop, and lays them together like building blocks. If a machine fails, the component should be able to be flexibly redirected to another available machine.
"Many machines can perform several tasks in one production line," explains Kulik. “A technically sophisticated 5-axis milling machine can also do the job of a simpler 3-axis milling machine, for example. In future, the service-oriented software within the Smart Manufacturing Network can make flexible decisions to do the job on the 5-axis machine that is currently free."
Also important for flexible production: Machines from different manufacturers must be easy to integrate into the Smart Manufacturing Network. The IPT is working on this in the Fraunhofer Networked, Adaptive Production Center with partners from science and industry. "There is still no kind of plug and play, as you know it from everyday technology, in industry," says Dr. Thomas Bobek, coordinator of the Fraunhofer Performance Center. "That's why we want to make plug and produce possible."
Hannover Messe 2017: Hall 2, Stand C22
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