How Smart Manufacturing Is Powered by Digital Twin Technology?

Bhagyashri Kambale | December 08, 2021
SMART_MANUFACTURING
A digital twin is a virtual model of an object or system that comprises its lifecycle. It is updated with real-time data and aids decision-making through simulation, machine learning, and reasoning for the production system.

IoT sensor data from the original object is used to create a digital twin of the system. This cloud-connected data allows engineers to monitor systems and model system dynamics in real-time.

Modifications can be tested on the digital twin before making changes to the original system.

Considering that digital twins are supposed to replicate a product's complete lifecycle and are used throughout the production process, it's not unexpected that digital twins have become prevalent in all stages of manufacturing.

“More than a blueprint or schematic, a digital twin combines a real-time simulation of system dynamics with a set of executive controls,”

– Dr. Daniel Araya, consultant and advisor with a special interest in artificial intelligence, technology policy, and governance

Companies will increasingly embrace digital twins to boost productivity and decrease expenses. As per recent research by Research and Markets, nearly 36% of executives across industries recognize the benefits of digital twinning, with half planning to implement it by 2028.So how does this digital twin technology benefit modern manufacturing? Let's have a look.


How the Digital Twin Drives Smart Manufacturing

Digital twins in manufacturing are used to replicate production systems. Manufacturers can develop virtual representations of real-world products, equipment, processes, or systems using data from sensors connected to machines, tools, and other devices.
In manufacturing, such simulations assist in monitoring and adapting equipment performance in real-time. With machine learning techniques, digital twins can predict future events and anticipate potential difficulties.

For maintenance, digital twins allow for quick detection of any problems. They collect real-time system data, prior failure data, and relevant maintenance data. The technique employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict maintenance requirements. Using this data, companies can avoid production downtime.


Digital Twin and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in manufacturing

Using digital twins and AI in production can enhance uptime by predicting potential failures and keeping equipment working smoothly. In addition, there are significant cost savings in the planning and design process as digital twins and AI can be used to replicate a specific scenario.

Maintenance is another area that has seen significant progress with the use of digital twin manufacturing. A Digital Twin powered by AI can predict when a piece of equipment will fail, allowing you to arrange predictive maintenance that is not simply taking information from OEM manuals but can significantly cut maintenance expenses along with reducing downtime.

Using the digital twin, it is feasible to train virtual workers in high-risk functions, similar to how pilots are trained using flight simulators. It also frees up highly skilled workers to upgrade the plant and streamline operations.


General Electric Created the Most Advanced Digital Twin

General Electric Company (GE) is a multinational business based in Boston that was founded in 1892. It has developed the world's most advanced digital twin, which blends analytic models for power plant components that monitor asset health, wear, and performance with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) determined by the customer and the organization's objectives. The Digital Twin is powered by PredixTM, an industrial platform built to manage huge amounts of data and run analytic algorithms. General Electric Company provides extra "control knobs" or "dimensionality" that can be utilized to improve the operation of the system or asset modeled with GE Digital Twin.


Final Words

Given the numerous advantages of digital twin manufacturing, the potential for digital twins to be used in manufacturing is virtually endless in the near future. There will be a slew of new advancements in the field of digital twin manufacturing. As a result, digital twins are continually acquiring new skills and capabilities. The ultimate goal of all of these enhancements is to create the insights necessary to improve products and streamline processes in the future.


FAQ


What is a digital twin in manufacturing?

The digital twins could be used to monitor and enhance a production line or perhaps the whole manufacturing process, from product design to production.


How digital twin benefit manufacturers?

Using digital twins to represent products and manufacturing processes, manufacturers can save assembly, installation, and validation time and costs.


What is a digital thread?

A digital twin is a realistic version of a product or system that replicates a company's equipment, controls, workflows, and systems. The digital thread, on the other hand, records a product's life cycle from creation to dissolution.

Spotlight

NTS-Group

NTS develops, produces, assembles and tests complex (opto) mechatronic systems and mechanical modules for large, high-tech machine manufacturers (OEMs). As a first-tier systems supplier, we focus on companies active in markets with high levels of product diversity, low volumes and high complexity, such as the semi-conductor, life sciences and digital printing markets, in which precision and manoeuvrability are paramount.

OTHER ARTICLES

Multi-Channel Inventory Management: A Guide to Assured High Returns

Article | May 18, 2022

Multi-channel selling is a significant component of manufacturing. Modern buyers expect more from their buying experience, and one of them is being able to access different touchpoints to make a purchase. It is a challenge that modern businesses must address. And it all starts with prudent warehouse inventory management. But how can businesses stay ahead of the curve with a complex web of retail, wholesale, ecommerce, and logistics? This is precisely where multi-channel inventory management comes in. Multi-channel inventory management is the process of managing and keeping track of inventory sold from multiple locations through various selling channels. In this article, we will talk about how smart inventory management for a business with multiple sales channel can increase profits when done right. How C-Suites Can Unravel the Complex Web of Multi-Channel Selling When it comes to optimizing and addressing challenges in inventory management, warehouse management software is known to do wonders. But, when a business uses multiple channels to reach out to more consumers, generate more sales, and increase brand awareness, it also merits a holistic strategy. Management at the inventory level is key to fully unlock its revenue potential in a multi-channel marketplace. When C-levels are looking for ways to optimize operations, inventory management presents a massive opportunity. It is possible to solve many bottlenecks using proven strategies and established information and automation best practices. “Continuous process improvement by definition is ongoing. A static value proposition is hackneyed in no time.” Thomas R. Cutler, President and CEO, TR Cutler, Inc. Loss from Overstocking and Phantom Stocks Unoptimized inventory allocation is one of the costliest and most common challenges faced by multi-channel businesses. According to research commissioned by OrderDynamics, businesses worldwide lose over $471 billion from overstocking and $634 billion from out-of-stock orders. As a multi-channel seller, you must ensure that each channel has the corresponding inventory. Not doing so can lead to order cancellations or delays, or unsold stock. All of these can significantly reduce your profit margin. The Solution: Real-time Inventory Visibility Giving your warehouse managers the clarity they need in manufacturing inventory management can tackle the problem of overstocking. In addition, inventory management tools update inventory levels in real-time, so they don’t have to keep a close eye on inventory at every channel. Additionally, a synchronized inventory storage system can also help boost productivity and improve customer experience. Whether you use a periodic or continuous inventory management system, adding automation and integration with other tools will only help in providing clarity and flexibility. Slowdown in Logistics Due to Unoptimized Warehouse Space Distributed inventory is another aspect of multi-channel inventory management that can be used to create more traction and profit. Warehouse space is valuable for multi-channel businesses. With scattered locations and fluctuating demands, it can be difficult to forecast the optimal distribution of inventory across all channels as well as warehouse locations. According to manufacturing.net, about 20 to 30% of the inventory in a warehouse is obsolete. This clearly indicates the need to fully utilize storage and eliminate hurdles in warehouse inventory management. The Solution: Supply Chain Forecasting A combination of automation technologies can be used to build a multi-channel inventory management stack. The first is using demand sensing, an automation technology that uses real-time data to identify and anticipate short-term demand patterns. Sporting apparel giant, Nike has used demand sensing to effectively cut down on lead times by weeks. Another technology to consider in optimizing your warehouse space is Multi-Echelon Inventory Management, or MEIO. It has a holistic approach where it performs planning, optimization and forecasting across the supply chain. MEIO is also the answer to the scalability of modern multi-channel inventory management that offers comprehensive visibility and efficient rebalancing of inventory in real-time. Considering that 51% of sellers still lack forecasting software, as per a Zentail survey, the opportunity for C-levels is immense. Final Thoughts: Getting Impressively High Returns When done right, optimizing all aspects of multi-channel order management can yield impressive returns. The use of technology in automation and data analytics makes it easier to decode the complexities of a multi-channel operation. A storage and inventory management system may not have all the answers to the profitability puzzle. It is assured to lead to reduced inventory costs, improved performance of the supply chain network, and better responsiveness. This inevitably creates a powerful revenue generating multi-channel business. Frequently Asked Questions Can my existing ERP work as multichannel inventory management software? ERPs like SAP, Netsuite, or Oracle are designed to manage back-office processes and lack the specialization required to manage ecommerce and wholesale processes. Although they come with integrated solutions, their quality may not be up to the mark. What is the cost of multichannel inventory management software? While inventory management software ranges from free to thousands of dollars, the base price varies as per functionality. Some software services charge extra depending on the scale, volume, and integrations. What are the primary techniques of inventory management? Most manufacturers use three primary techniques to address challenges in inventory management: the pull strategy, the push strategy, and the just-in-time (JIT) strategy.

Read More

Manufacturing Process Management: Tips, Examples, and More

Article | February 25, 2022

Improving manufacturing efficiency and enhancing business revenue is the ultimate goal of every manufacturing business. Effective manufacturing process management may help businesses grow and discover innovative manufacturing processes. Facts and data fill the days of plant managers and engineers. However, it appears that many firms are still unable to devise a strategy for resolving long-standing challenges in their organizations. “If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” – Steve Jobs In this article, we will see the five ultimate ways of manufacturing flow management. Additionally, we will also see three industry leaders' examples and understand their processes for production management. So, let’s get started first with tips to improve production efficiency. Five Ways to Improve Production Efficiency Recognize and Eliminate Waste Waste is a cost that should be minimized in the manufacturing business. Additionally, waste is a broad term in this industry since it involves labor hours, energy use, and material consumption, to name a few. However, material waste is typically the most significant worry in the industrial business. When looking for strategies to decrease waste, you must rely on the results drawn during the evaluation of your manufacturing line. When identifying waste, keep in mind that each operation on your production line generates some trash; finding the procedures that generate the most waste is the most effective strategy to minimize total waste. However, you may reduce trash by recycling or reusing garbage rather than discarding it. If you are unable to eliminate the majority of your garbage, you should consider selling it to a company that can properly dispose of it. Evaluate the Production Process In a manufacturing business, the production line is at the heart of how the business operates, and hence, production line efficiency improvement is critical. When reviewing the production line, one must also consider the often overlooked elements, for example, the loading dock bumper and other necessary loading dock equipment. While sourcing and maintaining loading dock bumpers, you can rely on top industry service and equipment suppliers. This will guarantee that your production line is equipped with everything it needs to operate properly. Another critical statistic to examine is throughput. This metric is used to determine the average number of units produced within a specified period. You must have high-quality equipment to ensure that your production line runs smoothly. Analyzing throughput can help spot difficulties in the production line when throughput is not quite up to pace. Another aspect of production line efficiency improvement is capacity utilization, which determines your factory's overall output capacity. This enables you to monitor the functioning of your production line at all times. Determine Bottlenecks While discovering any flaws in your manufacturing line, you will unintentionally locate your production's major bottlenecks. Bottlenecks are breaks in your manufacturing line, supply chain, or any other business activity that obstruct the performance of another operation. For instance, a certain machine may require repair at a plant, necessitating a half-day shutdown. Any procedure that needs the operation of that particular machine is subsequently rendered inoperable. That machine becomes the bottleneck at that point. There are other types of blockages. Another instance is when an administrator who is required for approval falls ill. Once you've identified your most frequent bottlenecks, you may work on reducing them and increasing productivity by decreasing bottleneck-related downtime. Enhance Training Practices The way your workers work ultimately impacts the productivity of your entire organization. Lack of training equates to inefficiency, and vice versa. To achieve optimal employee performance, each team member must be empowered throughout the production process. This isn't as simple as writing a pamphlet from which someone can be taught. Highly effective workers need to be taught on the job by someone who is watching them. However, you must first establish uniform standards throughout your organization, starting from the top. This approach will help your employees understand that they will get organized or informal training to upgrade the skills and knowledge necessary to work successfully during the change's implementation. Training may take the form of a series of online microlearning modules or a blended learning method that includes face-to-face training sessions as well as on-the-job coaching and mentoring. In addition, PWC is of the opinion that workers should ask the following questions to help them be more efficient in the long run: Is what I’m doing now adding value, or am I just doing it because this is the way I’m supposed to do it? If I were the customer, would I pay money for the activities that I was engaged in? Allow your staff to generate suggestions for efficiency improvements on their own. After all, no one knows their operations better than they do. Calculate and Organize Your Workspace You can optimize production efficiency if your staff can perform their duties in a well-organized work environment. Hence, it is critical to prioritize measuring and organizing the workplace. It is critical to quantify each aspect of your business first, as this will provide you with a clear picture of what works and what does not. After that, you'll need to make sure that everything in the office is in order so that your employees can work efficiently. Three Companies That Redefined The Innovative Manufacturing Processes Ford Henry Ford delivered to the world far more than simple automobiles. His company was the first to integrate a full production line process, paving the way for contemporary mass manufacturing. He devised a moving conveyer belt assembly line, which represented a radical departure from traditional industrial procedures. While his production procedures were restricted by current standards—they only allowed for limited customization—he laid the groundwork for modern manufacturing and a new way of thinking about processes. Toyota The Toyota Production System illustrates a deeply embedded cultural and managerial concept. This concept emphasizes the continuous improvement of work processes and systems. This approach focuses on identifying and resolving issues and ensures that every business action adds value to consumers. Dr. W. Edwards Deming and writers James Womack, Daniel Roos, and Daniel Jones brought it to the American public’s attention in the 1980s and 1990s (in "The Machine that Changed the World"). It was, and still is, a radically different management style for the great majority of organizations. Most people are familiar with Toyota Production System tenets like "just in time." GE Under former CEO Jack Welch, GE promoted the use of Six Sigma in business operations and provided a blueprint for adoption in the corporate setting that practically everyone sought to copy (at least for a while). Welch made Six Sigma training a pre-requisite for every employee who aspires to higher levels of leadership inside the business, and he enforced its implementation at all levels. The "GE Workout" is an extremely concentrated session (typically over many consecutive days) that evaluates business difficulties and suggests solutions. GE created it as a spin on the Six Sigma toolbox. Final Words To accelerate the overall growth of your manufacturing business, you must have innovative manufacturing processes that help improve manufacturing efficiency. You may consider the above mentioned ways to improve production efficiency and get the most out of your production set up. Giving employees new tools is probably the quickest method for managers to change a production process. Moving ahead, finding factory-direct manufacturers that can deal with each company's unique circumstances is also encouraged. Identify and avoid problems so you can then look at current data and waste to develop new and better ways of doing things. FAQ What is manufacturing efficiency? Manufacturing efficiency aims to make products at the lowest feasible overall cost. It's all about maximizing the use of limited resources while minimizing the waste of time, materials, and energy. What is a manufacturing process flow system? The manufacturing process flow system shows the granular activity-level stages that must be completed to manufacture finished items from the moment raw materials are delivered to the manufacturing facility until they are transformed into finished goods. What are the four manufacturing components? Below are the four components of manufacturing: Production equipment as well as tools, fixtures, and other relevant hardware. A material handling system. A computer system to coordinate and/or control the preceding components. Human personnel to run and manage the system.

Read More

Rex Moore Proves Project Business Automation Provides Predictive and Proactive Resource Requirements

Article | July 28, 2021

Rex Moore Group, Inc. is a Top50 electrical contractor delivering unmatched integrated electrical solutions. As an early adopter of Lean manufacturing principles, Rex Moore has created a company-wide culture of continuous improvement that drives significant value to their clients. The firm contracts and performs both design/build and bid work for all electrical, telecommunications, and integrated systems market segments. Rex Moore has a full-service maintenance department to cover emergency and routine requirements for all facilities, whether an existing facility or one that has been recently completed by the company. The ability to negotiate and competitively bid various forms of contracts including lump-sum, fixed fee, hourly rate, and cost-plus work as a prime contractor, subcontractor, or joint venture is enhanced with Project Business Automation (PBA) from Adeaca. This solution permits the company to propose work only if they are in a position to be competitive in the marketplace and provide excellent service with fair compensation. Rex Moore used Adeaca PBA as a construction management software for builders and contractors to integrate and facilitate its business processes in its ERP system. Together with Microsoft Dynamics, PBA integrated processes across the company on a single end-to-end platform. This allowed the company to replace 15 different applications with a single comprehensive system, eliminating the costs and inefficiencies associated with multiple systems and silos of information.

Read More

How Manufacturing Industry Uses Cloud Technology: Three Case Studies

Article | February 22, 2022

The integration of cutting-edge technologies into the manufacturing industry has transformed the whole economy and accelerated the pace of all operations. Cloud computing for manufacturing is a type of technology that enables businesses to gain visibility, scalability, mobility, security, and improved collaboration, among other benefits. Seeing the benefits, many small and large players in the manufacturing business have embraced cloud computing. “Cloud computing is not only the future of computing, but the present and the entire past of computing.” – Larry Ellison, co-founder, executive chairman, CTO, and former CEO of Oracle Corporation. According to IDC research, the manufacturing industry is the biggest player in cloud computing solutions, with an estimated spending of $19 billion. Additionally, Market Research Future projects that the cloud manufacturing market will reach a value of USD 121.72 billion by 2026. As a result, we may predict that manufacturing cloud computing has a long way to go in the industry. In this article, we will look at some of the key cloud manufacturing applications and case studies of three US-based manufacturing businesses that used manufacturing cloud software ERP. Applications for Manufacturing Cloud Computing Effective Marketing Cloud technology's comprehensive nature makes it an ideal solution for the challenges of marketing campaigns. Manufacturers leverage cloud-based applications to help them plan, execute, and manage marketing initiatives. Manufacturers can also look at production and sales data to see how well their campaign is working. Product Planning and Development Product planning and development are closely linked in manufacturing. Manufacturers can get their businesses ready for full production by integrating product planning and development information with supply chain data and communications. Comprehensive integration enables products to move a lot faster from notion to engineering, from prototype to small-scale production, and eventually to full-scale production and shipping. Production and Stock Tracking Once production begins, cloud technology may assist in the manufacturing and stock management of products. Businesses can use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to match production levels to available inventory and sales. Pricing quotations, order intake, and client requests can all be managed using the ERP software. Using a standard product to keep an eye on these things reduces the time it takes to get an order. Productivity Management Manufacturers rarely maintain the same level of production throughout the year for all products. They can use cloud-based tools to keep track of when to modify production to meet changing market demands. These software solutions ensure that manufacturers have the necessary raw materials on hand by making communication easier across the supply chain. This helps them easily adjust their orders to accommodate future productivity levels. Three Case Studies of Cloud Computing in Manufacturing Ralco Industries Leveraged Cloud to Cut Its Inventory by 15% Ralco Industries is a producer and supplier of automotive components that specializes in precision-welded assembly and prototypes. To overcome the challenges of their business growth, the industrialists moved to manufacturing software cloud ERP and saved some money in the process. There was a lot of inefficiency, quality issues, excessive expediting prices, and wasted time due to inaccurate inventory and many unconnected systems in the past. Moving to a single integrated cloud ERP software system helped Ralco cut inventory on hand by 15%, scrap by more than 60%. It helped Ralco save money on premium freight by more than 20% and save almost $100 on each purchase order that was processed. Avon Gear Improved Inventory Accuracy and Grew by 20% Yearly Avon Gear Company, a maker of precision-machined components and subassemblies for heavy industrial equipment, was looking for an ERP system that would integrate data across the organization. The company chose a cloud-based manufacturing ERP to manage and record production activity, inventory status changes, receiving, shipping, and other plant-floor data. Consequently, Avon Gear's inventory accuracy has increased, and the company's growth rate has gone up by an average of 20% each year. Wolverine Improved First-pass Quality by 15-20% Using Cloud An automobile brake system technology firm, Wolverine Advanced Materials, found that its manual methods were not sustainable, especially when it came to supporting fast development. To grow and embrace lean manufacturing, the firm chose cloud ERP, which enabled it to properly assess cost and profitability by part. Using manufacturing cloud software, ERP, the company's factory floor workers can see all client orders and conveniently categorize them by material so that they can better manage their schedules. This has resulted in increased production and cost savings for Wolverine. Also, overtime was cut by 60%, while first-pass quality increased by 15% to 20%. Final Word For manufacturers, cloud computing is a game changer. Manufacturing companies must deal with a lot of different sites and supply chains, which requires the use of large, complex database applications. The Cloud computing for manufacturing is expediting industrial operations and overall business decisions in the manufacturing industry. Cloud computing enables industrial organizations to improve visibility across large fleets of facilities. It also contributes to standardization by synchronizing and supplying data for new forms of analytics. Supply chain management becomes more effective and product development gets easier with cloud computing. So, instead of debating whether to use cloud computing, take action and use cloud computing in your business. FAQ What is cloud computing in manufacturing industry? Cloud computing refers to the on-demand provision of IT resources over the internet. Instead of buying, running, and maintaining physical data centers and servers, you can use a cloud service. This approach would help you get computing power, storage, and databases when you need them, rather than buying and running your own. How does cloud computing help the manufacturing industry? Cloud-based solutions are more rapidly deployed than traditional systems, which enables firms to stay current with new innovations. Also, they are easier to change and grow, and they have the potential to make resellers more likely to use them. Why cloud computing vital to modern manufacturing? Cloud computing impacts all aspects of manufacturing. It enables manufacturers to see and control all manufacturing data and take informed production decisions. This is the reason why it is vital to modern manufacturing.

Read More

Spotlight

NTS-Group

NTS develops, produces, assembles and tests complex (opto) mechatronic systems and mechanical modules for large, high-tech machine manufacturers (OEMs). As a first-tier systems supplier, we focus on companies active in markets with high levels of product diversity, low volumes and high complexity, such as the semi-conductor, life sciences and digital printing markets, in which precision and manoeuvrability are paramount.

Events