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The path from digital twin, via IIoT to Industry 4.0

From digital twin, via IIoT to Industry 4.0

Shorter production times, greater pressure to cut costs and meet deadlines, increased variation diversity, reduced batch sizes accompanied by shorter changeover times, procurement optimization, logistics, digital twin in spare parts management, maintenance optimization of plant and machinery,...companies today are faced with countless challenges.

In many sectors, companies need to deal with the question of how to keep their machines, plants and robots efficient at all times in spite of a diverse range of constantly increasing requirements. That’s why more and more companies seek the solution of digitalization and networking of their systems - completely in line with the concept of Industry 4.0. But very often the crucial challenge is to find the ideal entry point.

Where is the ideal entry point for Industry 4.0?

To answer this question, the industrial revolution has to be seen as a journey, offering many opportunities to those who successfully bet on the right strategy. The rapid development in machinery and plant engineering as well as robot technology, is setting tough requirements on simulation and digital commissioning, independent of the industry sector. Due to a lack of real-time capability and missing digital data, many processes and systems cannot unlock their full potential. Real-time simulation can fail, for example, due to the missing intelligent digital data of components containing acceleration values, mass points, weight, surface quality to name a few.

Intelligent digital data of components

Not only is simulation important, upcoming maintenance or other real-time information from sensors, intelligently defined inside the digital component is a requirement. This leads back to the initial question as to where the right entry point is for Industry 4.0. Or, in other words; do we have all these smart parts in our ecosystem?

Conclusion: Digital twin as a prerequisite for Industry 4.0

To take the first step to Industry 4.0, virtual machines, plants and robots have to be built with virtual components, which behave 100% like real components with regards to interfaces, parameters and operating modes. With the help of these so-called "digital twins", as supported by CADENAS catalog technology, realistic test and deployment situations are constructed, including all control functions in process and motion control, for instance. There we go – that’s the entry point. For everything we do, we need to start with these smart parts, in other words, real "digital twins".

The 4th Industrial Revolution is in full swing and presents brand new challenges for the digitalization of components, and thereby, an enriched electronic product catalog. CAD, kinematics and product configuration are no longer sufficient. The new challenge is the merging of kinematics, electrical engineering and software in one digital model – known as the "digital twin”.

Networking of intelligent components with other devices

But this is only a first step for IIoT, because all these smart parts have to communicate with smart devices: e.g. a smart pump with smart sensors will finally communicate an upcoming failure to a dedicated analyses tool in the cloud, to start a maintenance process before the pump will fail. This will reduce downtime in your production, for instance, and make an assembly line much more efficient.

And that’s where the circle closes; we discovered our entry point and started our journey with a digital twin in engineering, and we end with the smart communication of the real components, with the existing PLM & ERP systems, as well as with their digital twins during the product lifecycle.

And “the cherry on the top” is the combination of the above, with procurement data, because procurement and logistics benefit from digital procurement data such as availability, delivery times, list prices and customs tariff numbers. Bridging the gap between engineering and purchasing. We call this concept “PURCHINEERING”.

Author: Walter Leder

Walter Leder has been working at CADENAS GmbH since 2000. As authorized officer he is not only responsible for the financial management but also for strategic OEM partnerships. Furthermore he deals intensively in the area of Industry 4.0, IIoT and PURCHINEERING.