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.
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.
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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