How a digital twin can help decision making

Exploiting Industry 4.0

Our recent interview with Professor Yuri Toluyev, of the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany, investigated the development of Industry 4.0. Here we explore a practical implementation of Industry 4.0 technology on an automobile production line to better understand the possibilities of these new developments, and in particular, those of a digital twin.

production line for a van

A digital twin

One of the world’s largest capital goods companies, CNHi, wanted to evaluate Industry 4.0 technologies for manufacturing optimization. It chose its IVECO production plant in Suzzara, Italy, as a test location. The plant was close to achieving a World Class Manufacturing Gold Award and could make the grade with a reduction in maintenance downtime. This fit with the aim of reducing costs. Production line downtime was shown in a study of over 100 automotive executives to cost an average of $22,000 per minute.

Fair Dynamics were contracted to develop a prototype solution for reducing maintenance costs and proposed a digital twin of a production line segment. The system would assist maintenance scheduling decisions for a production line dedicated to welding van bodies of different types. To achieve this, they modeled the various stations on the line, including the robots, and captured key performance indicators to help assess the value of new policies.

The system was developed in AnyLogic and brought together agent-based modeling, remote sensor data, and machine learning techniques to provide a ‘Control Tower’ for monitoring and testing.

Manufacturing optimization

In developing the prototype, Fair Dynamics gave CNHi a comprehensive tool for evaluating maintenance policies and applying predictive models for component wear.

The AnyLogic model has highlighted the benefits of digital twins as well as the demands of these systems.

⭐ Find out more in the full case study, including a video presentation from the developer. You may also be interested in our white paper with industry examples: An Introduction to Digital Twin Development.

❔ Where do you see digital twins having the most impact? Have you seen the impact for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!