Smart manufacturing and leveraging the digital twin

Industrial machinery in manufacturing is experiencing a radical upswing of technological advancements based on smart manufacturing. This exciting trend, however, creates a challenge for validating and managing modern manufacturing and assembly operations for achieving premium quality and optimizing cost.

The second podcast of this series about smart manufacturing by Siemens, solutions for the industrial machinery industry by Siemens Digital Industries Software, delivers insights on how machine manufacturers are leveraging the digital twin to make their manufacturing smarter. The significance of the digital twin for machine builders is profound and compelling.  The podcast discussion examines the digital twin processes from the inception of the design through manufacturing, operations management, commissioning and service life.

Engineering expert, Bill Davis, Director of Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment Solutions at Siemens provides ample knowledge and commentary into the many aspects of smart manufacturing.

Bill’s expertise spans over 30-years, including both the industrial machinery and heavy equipment industries. He has active participation in CAD, PLM, PDM, the digital enterprise and the digital thread. In this podcast series, Bill is evaluating the manufacturing industry, assessing the smart manufacturing environment and forecasting innovative solutions.

3D printing, digital twin and smart manufacturing

In the last several years, there has been a move towards 3D printing and additive manufacturing. From a machining perspective, it allows the machine designer to consolidate components via the additive manufacturing process, leading to less expensive parts, superior reliability, and increased durability.

The digital twin plays a role in this process.

From a smart manufacturing perspective, the digital twin requires more than just additive manufacturing.  It also should include post-process machining along with several make-ready processes for industrial machinery assembly—a whole new class of machinery that’s worth the investment. The digital twin encompasses far more than just the designing of parts or mechanical components of a machine. To add flexibility and adaptability, the digital twin must reflect the electrical part, the software, and the PLC programming.

It’s a multi-disciplinary approach incorporated into a true digital twin, and it is critical to have the right software to manage all of this.

Manufacturing disciplines and the manufacturing space

Whether mechanical, electrical or software, the manufacturing disciplines need to generate CMM or inspection files to automate the process of the system manufacturing of parts. In the engineering space, it’s imperative to simulate the software, execute the product and provide a physical domain.

From an electrical perspective, there can be diverse manufacturing requirements, especially if the manufacturing equipment is from multiple vendors. The functionality of these machines might be similar; however, their configuration from an electrical and mechanical requirement could be entirely different. This variability is what machinery builders need to reflect on their digital twin.

And it’s not merely about building the part and executing it but managing delivery, manufacturing, operations, and quality. In this podcast, Bill’s knowledge of manufacturing operations management provides insight into coordinating all these activities to deliver the correct parts at the right time.

Benefits of smart manufacturing

The manufacturing of the machinery is an elaborate dance between the supply chain, internal manufacturing, and assembly, so a united knowledge management piece is key. Smart manufacturing provides the portability to create the design, transport it to a remote facility while retaining the quality and reliability of the manufacturers’ product. This flexibility is a significant value-add of smart manufacturing – tying in both the design and extension into manufacturing operations and operations management.

By the Author:

Bill Davis is the acting Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment Industry leader for Siemens Digital Industries.

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