Design Faster with Digital Twins

A new pilot plant allows companies to test complex automation processes safely and cost-effectively.

The assembly of components is increasingly digitalized and automated. Manufacturing companies invest a great deal of time and money in the automation of entire assembly lines. A large share of this expenditure goes into pilot plants on which the automated processes are designed and tested meticulously. As automation increases, so do the requirements regarding being fault-free – because errors in the design of an automated process often result in considerable additional expense.

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Researchers at Fraunhofer IPK have developed an integrated engineering environment for pilots that allows for cost-effective development of interlinked production systems and reliable testing of complex processes. The two six-axis industrial robots in the development environment are equipped with novel component feeding units, force control and flexible interfaces. Any necessary additional sensors can easily be integrated.

So how can an entire interlinked assembly line be mapped with one system? A digital twin of the modular development environment ensures that the two robots are automatically configured for each assembly step. The processes can be controlled and monitored on a versatile dashboard.

© Fraunhofer IPK/Ilona Glodde
Complex automated assembly processes can be piloted more cost-effectively in the future with the help of digital twins.
© Fraunhofer IPK/Ilona Glodde
© Fraunhofer IPK/Ilona Glodde

The advantages of this robot-based pilot line become clear in direct comparison with traditional ways of piloting. A single modular development environment is required to validate a linked assembly plant with 15 stations, resulting in lower investment costs. The time for setup and reconfiguration is reduced to one third.

Working with our customers, we find the right solution for every use case, whether at our facility in the test field of the Production Technology Center or implemented directly at the company itself.

The piloting processes can be easily controlled and monitored on the flexible dashboard – whether on the big screen or using a mobile tablet.