The arrival of the digital world at factories led to Industry 4.0, and the new paradigm involves bringing about the permanent connection between both worlds as the key for achieving future efficiency and competitiveness. The so-called "digital twin” has emerged out of this aim; it is a virtual model of a process or product that digitally reproduces with maximum accuracy the behaviour and performance of its real version to which it is twinned. The way it works is based on permanent feedback providing information from its respective environments (actual physical and virtualised optimum) allowing fast, effective evolution towards zero-defect versions that are more efficient and adapted to their environment.
In this context, the Tecnalia centre for research and technological development is working to deploy these virtual replicas of factories and their production processes in industry for the purpose of predicting faults and abnormal behaviour, and achieving advanced processes and products adapted to any circumstance in real time.
This new technology is proposing that the cyber-physical system generated in the design of a product be taken advantage of so that it can be fed with information from the said product in operation, analyse how it behaves in the presence of various stimuli, and check the consequences in order to enrich future goods so that the new units of output can be optimized. Through sensorics and communications, the digital world remains permanently linked to the real world throughout the product’s life cycle; that enables the behaviour of the product or process to be verified under optimum conditions, and thus enable it to be improved and enriched.
The centre for research and technological development has presented this concept at Basque Industry 4.0, the congress organised by the Basque Government and the SPRI Group and which was held today, 22 November, at the Kursaal Conference Centre. During the congress Tecnalia generated at its stand the “digital twin” of metal parts. To do this, it had a collaborative robot fitted with a 3D scanner at the end of its arm and used to produce a virtual model of the part; afterwards the attendees had the chance to assess the digital twin for their businesses.