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Simulation on ‘Virtual Twin’ Machine Speeds Cycle Optimization on Plant Floor

Kautex demonstrates that simulating a change in control program on a machine’s “virtual twin” greatly compresses the time to commission the new program on a real blow molding machine.

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Commissioning complex blow molding applications and production systems often takes several days or even weeks and involves considerable downtime if an existing machine is being repurposed for a new task. But today, virtual development and testing environments can speed the process considerably. In one recent case, Kautex in Germany was able to reduce on-site commissioning of a new control program to a single day.
 

Commissioning a blow molding machine remotely via simulation on a virtual twin.

Commissioning a blow molding machine remotely via simulation on a virtual twin.

The goal of the control update was to optimize cycle time on the post-processing station (IntelliGate module) of a Kautex KBB400D double-station, all-electric, continuous-extrusion machine for jerry cans at a customer in Spain. The new control program was developed in the Kautex headquarters factory in Bonn and tested (simulated) on a virtual IntelliGate module, before a Kautex service technician implemented the control change at the customer’s site. The technician received support from a virtually linked Kautex programmer. It was thus possible to implement the change and final adjustments in a single day—half the time originally calculated. According to Kautex project manager Dirk Hiller, “Digital twinning of our machines means that we are now in a better position to adapt the control of the production system to changing conditions and production requirements more quickly.”

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