Digital twins: Simulation in automation
Increasingly complex plants and machines, on which a wide range of products are produced, represent a great challenge for plant manufacturers. Plant simulation is currently becoming more and more an essential part of project management in the field of automation. In tenders and performance specifications it is often already stipulated that a so-called virtual commissioning must take place towards the end of the project.
Through the simulation and pre-testing of all system components as well as the execution of reachability and cycle time studies with fe.screen-sim, high customer requirements can be optimally met. The goals of simulation and virtual commissioning are that the automation hardware functions without errors, the automation software is correctly programmed in terms of control function and operability, and that the system technology is in harmony with the automation technology. Simulation solutions, such as fe.screen-sim, ensure exactly this thanks to virtual plant models with all their functions - and that before real machines or plants are built.
Features and components
An integrated physics engine in fe.screen-sim makes it possible that dynamic changes and their effects are immediately visible in the simulation. The plant behavior corresponds exactly to that of the real plant. If, for example, a sensor in the model is in the wrong place, the effect is immediately visible in the digital twin.
The best possible protection of the PLC program is achieved by connecting it to the control technology by means of HIL (Hardware in the Loop) or SIL (Software in the Loop). With SIL, no real controller is required and the control code is executed in fe.screen-sim on an emulated controller. Even idealized models, for example to test interlocking processes, enable the PLC programmer to quickly test his software on a simple model. Even if no data is available at all.
Applications of digital twins in automation
Digital twins can be found in daily industrial planning and commissioning applications for single machines or conveyor belts, for example, as well as in large-scale plants in the fields of production, automotive engineering, logistics or process engineering, where the control system has several thousand input and output signals. The modular structure, high performance data and the industry-independent layout of the software solution ensure this enormous flexibility.
SOLUTIONS – SIMULATION CAN BE USED HERE
- Machines for assembly and production processes
- Robot cells incl. linear axes
- Metalworking machines
- Connected warehouse and conveyor systems
- Process engineering plants
- Production lines in automotive engineering
Through simulation and pre-testing of all system components as well as the execution of accessibility and cycle time studies with fe.screen-sim, high customer demands can be optimally met. A positive side effect: System knowledge is improved. Thus, interdependencies are better recognized and optimization potentials can be exploited in the best possible way. Optimization in turn avoids unnecessary downtime. The virtual model also offers the plant operator the opportunity to confront his personnel with critical events on the model in order to run through certain scenarios. If desired, this can also be done in a virtual environment.
Consulting, training and support: How we help you get started
In your first project using digital twins in automation, you are confronted with numerous new questions and challenges. We provide you with the best possible support in the initial phase, organize workshops and training sessions and, if desired, accompany you all the way to the final project implementation.
Your personal contact person – for more clearness
You are a project or department manager and are faced with the question of how to set up a digital twin for your project? We would be happy to talk to you personally about your requirements, the time frame, the possible project approach and give you an initial cost estimate.