The design of manufacturing systems is characterized by constraints in costs and time to market. The timeframe in which a system has to be developed is shorter than ever. The development of those systems consists of multiple phases such as mechanical/hardware engineering, electrical engineering, design and software engineering. In the past a system had to be built and set up to do integrated testing. If there where any errors or design problems the whole process would had start over again, leading to a longer time to market, wasting more resources and thus; costing more money. The indispensable step would be using Digital Twins for Virtual Commissioning.
During Virtual Commissioning, a virtual model of the manufacturing system is used for commissioning. The goal is to detect and correct early errors in the design and software.
The step to virtual verification and commissioning is clearly very understandable. Building a digital carbon copy of your system gives you many advantages, also during installation and final testing. For example, you can find some of advantages in our Philips case study
From hands-on experience, we know that you can shorten the commissioning time by at least 25 percent, even when you are new to the technology and it is only your first swing.
That time reduction has two benefits. First, because of the fact that you can verify and check approximately 75 percent of the machine up front, the commissioning team will need less time on site. Second, the run-up time to production is shortened drastically because of parallel development.
What are the costs of the on-site commissioning team per day?
How many days can you win by using virtual commissioning?
And how big is the benefit from that earlier uptime?
Those are the questions that can be asked during the consideration of using a Digital Twin for Virtual Commissioning. Of course there will always be a delta with the real world, but there are a lot of benefits. That has to balance out the investment in software, the time to build the digital twin and, if applicable, the consultancy you need to hire. As said, 25 percent time reduction is a given, and it will only increase in your next efforts.
An added bonus of Virtual Commissioning is that there is less travel involved also making it the more sustainable option.
In short, some benefits:
- Communication – used to be on the same page with multiple stakeholders
- Early testing – detect and reduce errors
- Analyse the system and identify bottlenecks
- Less disruption – Connect PLC’s, test early and run multiple test scenarios
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