Fraunhofer IGD’s new technology, ‘cyber- physical equivalence’ will aid Industry 4.0’s vision of factories with the use of smart production control methods.
Based on the new technology, manufacturers will be able to produce more diversified and personalized products cost-effectively.
Initially it creates a digital model of each stage in the production process and transfers this model to the real production environment. At the same time, everything that happens in the factory is recorded as digital data and fed back into the virtual world.
In the past, designers had to model a new product by hand whereas now they usually create a digital model before making the real one. Visualization technologies connect the real world with the digital world and provide support for smart production control – which makes it possible to plan complex work environments and processes before they are implemented.
The data can be accessed from anywhere using mobile devices such as tablet PCs or smartphones and visualized in an easy-to-understand form, adapted to the needs of each company and its employees.
The benefits of cyber-physical equivalence are illustrated using a miniature production line, in which a sorting robot moves containers from one place to another. Its work sequences are recorded by a special camera and images are transmitted in real time to the virtual model.
In the real-world scenario, a forklift will work together with the robot. But before launching it, a simulation with a virtual forklift driven around the digital model of the factory is conducted.
Cyber-physical equivalence is based on a constant dialog between the real and virtual worlds, in which the physical production line and its digital equivalent melt into one. It also has the advantage of allowing manufacturing processes to be documented end-to-end in digital form and in real time.
“We want to provide effective support to people who work in complex production environments,” says Professor Uwe Freiherr von Lukas of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD. “To do so, we have to gather reliable workflow data, visualize this information, and make it accessible wherever needed – be it next to the milling machine or in a shipyard’s dry dock.”
Excerpts and image credits : Fraunhofer IGD