Shawn Cheney, Chief Controls Engineer at Pearson Packaging Systems, discussed digital twin technology at today’s PACK EXPO Connects Innovation Stage. “Digital twin technology,” said Cheney, “allows us to be able to animate, simulate and emulate, to be able to achieve a risk reduction for all stakeholders involved in a project.”
Cheney said this can be done on an individual process level, on discreet equipment, or at a system level with many pieces of equipment all tied together, allowing us to accelerate through the design and concept level processes and reach a final solution much faster than is traditionally done.
Animation is the first step in a digital twin design and allows a concept to be developed and then a system to be designed. “If at any point in the process something isn't working,” Cheney said, “we can backtrack and revisit this, and in a virtual world that becomes very clean and simple to be able to do that.”
Simulations allow some line performance evaluations, and the ability to explore ‘what if’ scenarios. Optimizations, and demonstrating the concepts without physical products, are also possible.
Emulation is the final phase in the digital twin technology, enabling the writing of real PLC and robot code, which can then be tested and verified on virtual equipment. Cheney said emulation reduces the amount of time onsite, and helps validate test cases, recoveries, and jam scenarios.