Digital twin technology uses a virtual representation model to simulate and test different scenarios, allowing engineers, designers, and teams to identify potential problems and optimize performance in a variety of applications and industries.
Digital manufacturing uses computerized processes to automatically share information across an operation, including data from materials, people, and machines. Digital manufacturing relies on an integrated system consisting of simulation technologies, connected equipment, and collaboration tools.
In digital manufacturing, digital twins can be used to transform manufacturing operations, improve product development, and ensure worker safety, among other applications.
What are the applications, benefits, and use cases of digital twins in digital manufacturing?
1. Predictive Maintenance
Digital twins can predict machine failures and identify maintenance needs before they occur. By simulating how machines run and collecting data about their performance over time, digital twins can create predictive maintenance algorithms that can help predict failures before they occur and give early warnings of breakdowns.
Use case: By creating a digital twin of machines critical to the production process and monitoring their performance over time, manufacturers can identify patterns in data that indicate when the machines require maintenance before physical breakdowns occur.
Benefits: Cost savings and reduced downtime.
2. Quality Control
By monitoring the performance of machines and processes in real time, digital twins can help identify quality issues before they become problems.
Use case: Manufacturers can compare a digital twin’s performance with a machine’s actual performance. If the two don’t match, it may indicate a potential quality issue with the product, and the manufacturer can investigate the cause and take corrective action. Digital twins can be used to monitor the quality of raw materials or components used in manufacturing, ensuring they meet the required specifications.
Benefits: Reduced waste and improved product quality, resulting in increased customer satisfaction.
3. Process Optimization
Process optimization is used to maximize the efficiency, cost, and/or output of any project or set system, whether that system is used to create a physical product or work product. Digital twins can simulate and optimize digital manufacturing processes, allowing for more efficient and effective production.
Use case: By creating a digital twin of the production line and running simulations, manufacturers can identify the optimal sequence of operations, machine settings, and workloads to achieve the desired production goals. The digital twin can also be used to test different scenarios and “what-if” analyses to evaluate the impact of changes before implementation. Digital twins can monitor the performance of individual machines and components in real time, enabling manufacturers to identify and address bottlenecks or other issues hindering productivity.
Benefits: Optimized production line, reduced cycle times and risk of production disruptions, increased output, reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved overall performance.
4. Supply Chain Optimization
In today’s interconnected world, supply chain optimization is essential for business success. Digital manufacturers can identify bottlenecks and optimize logistics for faster and more cost-effective delivery by creating digital twins of the entire supply chain.
Use case: Suppose a manufacturer sources raw materials from multiple suppliers in different regions. By creating digital twins of each supplier’s production and logistics operations, the manufacturer can monitor their performance and identify potential bottlenecks in the supply chain, mitigating potential issues before they impact production schedules. The manufacturer can use virtual models to optimize inventory levels and distribution logistics to ensure that suitable materials are available at the right time and place. Manufacturers can also use digital twins to simulate different scenarios and evaluate the impact of changes to the supply chain, such as introducing a new supplier or changing transportation routes.
Benefits: Optimized supply chain, reduced costs, improved delivery times, and increased overall efficiency.
5. Product Design and Development
Digital twins can simulate and test product designs before they go into production, reducing the risk of errors and improving time-to-market.
Use case: When designing a new product, manufacturers can create a digital twin of the product design to simulate how the product will perform under different conditions and test different scenarios without the need for physical prototypes. This can help identify potential design flaws or performance issues early in the development process, reducing the risk of errors and delays and ensuring the new product meets customer requirements and quality standards. Digital twins can be used to optimize product design for manufacturing, ensuring that it can be produced efficiently and cost-effectively.
Benefits: Improved product design and development, reduced development time, lower costs, and improved product quality.
6. Inventory Management
Manufacturers can optimize inventory levels and reduce waste by creating digital twins of inventory levels and production schedules.
Use case: A manufacturer looking to optimize inventory levels and reduce waste can employ a digital twin of their inventory and production schedules. The manufacturer can use the virtual model to monitor their inventory levels and identify potential shortages or overstocks. The digital twin can help manufacturers make better decisions about when and how much materials to order. Digital twins can simulate different scenarios and evaluate the impact of changes to the production schedule on inventory levels, leading to optimized production schedules and reduced inventory costs while ensuring the correct materials are available when needed.
Benefits: Improved inventory management, reduced risk, reduced waste, lower inventory costs, and improved efficiency.
7. Worker Safety
Digital twins can simulate work environments and identify potential safety hazards, allowing for safer and more effective manufacturing processes.
Use case: Concerns about worker safety in production facilities can be addressed by creating a digital twin of the facility and simulating different work scenarios. Using these simulations, manufacturers can identify potential safety hazards and take measures to mitigate those risks. Simulations of the movement of workers and/or machines in the facility allow for the identification of possible collision points or other hazards. Simulations of emergency scenarios allow for evaluation of the effectiveness of safety protocols. Digital twins can train workers on safety procedures and protocols in a simulated environment, allowing them to practice and gain experience without the risks associated with real-world scenarios.
Benefits: Identify potential safety risks, create a safer and more productive work environment for employees, reduce accidents, and increase overall efficiency.
Enhance Digital Manufacturing Capabilities with Stefanini
Developing digital manufacturing capabilities requires careful examination of the existing components and features of your production line. Stefanini brings the latest and greatest digital tools needed to optimize your operation. Contact us today to speak with an expert!