“Digital Twin & Manufacturing Summit”. Our experience

Industry 4.0ManufacturingMESQMSSoft Industry Alliance

Introduction

On Thursday, April 27, the Soft Industry team attended Digital Twin & Manufacturing Summit that took place in München, Germany. At the event, the company had an opportunity to speak to experts about 3d manufacturing, virtual prototype designing, and simulation that can help in enhancing businesses. Among the speakers from renowned companies were:

  1. Hussein Tarhini – Fraunhofer lAPT
  2. Dr. Walter Huber – Webasto
  3. Dr.Satyajit Wattamwar – Unilever R&D
  4. Nitin Kaushik – Apollo
  5. Nathan Eskue – TU Delft |Aerospace Engineering|
  6. Gladis Araujo – Mattel, Inc.
  7. Tobias Helberg – Porsche
  8. Alex Samchenko – Philips
  9. Adrian Sebastian Palka – Johnson Controls
  10. Nicolas Lehment – NXP Semiconductors
  11. Arqum Ahmad – Leonardo
  12. Erika Parn – Cambridge
  13. Seonhi Ro – Ford Motor Company.

Our marketing managers, Petro and Dmytro, immediately invited Edgar, the technical consultant, to know his thoughts and emotions regarding the gained experience.

Petro: Hi all! Today we will speak with Edgar to find out the results of the Digital Twin & Smart Manufacturing Conference. The technical consultant along with our team has just come back from the summit that was held on 27-28.04.2023 in München, Germany, and was organized by Altrusia. 

Dmytro: Hi! I am also glad, you made it and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this event that definitely brought a positive impact to our team. As we want to move to digitalization and grow professionally, we need to borrow all the latest technologies and advice from renowned companies that were presented at the conference. So, should we start?

Edgar: Hi and nice to hear you all. So, the theme of the conference was the digital twin. Honestly, this therm was new and very interesting for me. Briefly, this is an emulation of a process or a real object in a virtual form. Through this, the companies can simulate different situations around the object to better understand it. At the event, businesses from all sectors cited different cases where they use the digital twin to predetermine various errors with precision and accuracy. 

For example, there was a company that used the digital twin to identify gaps in production. This was actually an interesting case if you ask me. As we know when melting metal the process can be followed by serious explosions. And the company managed to avoid this by implementing the digital twin approach in production. For 4 to 5 weeks, they collected information: the temperature, the kind of metal, and the alloys. And when processing this information, they were able to understand when the explosion would come. The digital twin had predicted the process 1 or 2 minutes before it happened by 60% and then the operator predetermined certain measures. As a result, now the company is saving 5 million dollars per year. 

Petro: As far as I understand, a digital twin is the general name of the concept or type of work approach.

Edgar: Not at all. There is certain software that is used to create a digital twin. But this does not mean that you and I can take this software and create a digital twin of some kind of object. If we consider the word “Twin” in the direct sense, then it will have the same properties as this object.

Petro: And you are familiar with the project where our team implemented a similar approach? Namely, we created a laboratory where the conveyors were tested in real-time. The technology tracked the cargo moves and collected all the data about it. So, with the help of the digital twin, our team could predict breakdowns and mistakes.

Edgar: Yes, your case study uses the same method as I have already described. 

Oh, there was another presentation a liked a lot dedicated to 3D printing. Honestly, I always thought that 3D printing is some kind of fun. But it turned out that this is a pretty advanced technology, not the one we used to see. And I didn’t expect to see created parts for aircraft and implants. To make the design light and flexible, the structure of the bones of birds has emulated: the printing was inside, like the structure of a bone. They even brought that printing device to the venue. Firstly, you look at it and it seems bulky to you, and when you take it in your hand it’s a rather light device. 

Petro: Am I right, different speakers talked about various aspects?

Edgar: Yes, you are. If I’m not mistaken there were 25 of them and each have a speech of 20-30 minutes. Among the highly profiled companies that participated in the discussion were Bosch, Philips, Ford, Henkel, and Johnson Controls. The one I want to highlight is Leonardo, the Italian-based company that is occupied in the defense industry and produces space shuttles and air crafts.

Another worth-mention company that received the largest investment from European companies this year is Makersite. Imagine, you have a list of things that are included in some kind of device, and you can get tips on where to buy everything and for how much. What’s more, the technology names the logistics chains, the cost of your products in the end, and how much you can sell them then.

Petro: Sounds like an ideal solution.

Edgar: Agree. And it doesn’t even have to be a list. For example, you say “Philips toaster” and enter the brand. Then you will see what materials and parts the toaster is made of, from where all the details can be delivered, and how actually to make this delivery the most profitable.

Petro: But where does the service get this information from?

Edgar: Makersite has vendors who know where, for example, the microprocessor is manufactured thanks to API by which they receive a list from manufacturing companies. Accordingly, the service compares and chooses the cheapest and fastest option. Then, it determines where your production facilities are located and how to bring everything to you through the logistics chain.

Dmytro: Could you please share a few insights that our team can learn from the conference? Maybe these can be some kind of new technology.

Edgar: Generally, all of them were related to the digital twin. Maybe we should just analyze the companies’ experience and try to implement their useful advice in practice. 

For example, Ford represented digital manufacturing. The company uses robots from Boston Dynamics that walk around the warehouse looking for problems to fix. The thing is, the warehouses are very high and every day the employees have to climb up to check the safety. This is dangerous for workers, and for this, Ford began to introduce drones that are now making detection. As a result, the work has now switched to industrial automation.

Dmytro: I believe that the main limitation of this new industrial innovation may be the full replacing employees with robots. If we take large productions, what is the ratio of human labor and robotization, in your opinion? For example, were there companies that are already 100% robotized? 

Edgar: Didn’t notice that. But we can now witness a tendency that European companies are following the direction of introducing robots, that will not replace people. The main thing is they will make the work of humans much easier and safer. 

Dmytro: What do you think, what we as a company can offer in the digital twin direction? Maybe the development of some kind of software or separate technology that we have? 

Edgar: Most of these companies developed their system. I only heard about separate software from Unilever. But it takes a lot of effort to get it all worked out. And I guess you need a big team for this.

Dmytro: I see. Then we can highlight individual developers who in turn will focus on supporting the digital twin

Edgar: I think yes. We can also take over smart manufacturing and quality control. 

Dmytro: So, you do like the experience of attending such a cool event, right? 

Edgar: I liked the feeling of close communication. There were two representatives from each company so you can easily remember all the members. On the second day, we greeted each other and even went to drink beer. In my point of view, only relevant people who work in IT were presented and this was the perfect format for me. I hope these connections will help us to sign a lot of useful contracts in the future.

Dmytro: They definitely will. Thank you for a lot of information. I am glad you are pleased with the results and found some useful cases to borrow.

Conclusion

By analyzing the speakers’ speeches and examples we can sum up that the digital twin direction will continue to grow with skyrocket speed in the next years. And it is now essential for modern companies to implement this kind of technology in the work process. Soft Industry already has a project where such an approach is used – the software solution that identifies, diagnoses, and solves problems while processing large-scale logistics operations (sorting, scanning, or sizing equipment). So, we will continue to adhere to the latest trends in the IT industry and use them to improve work processes.



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