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Research project enables the digital twin for mechanical and plant engineering

Weiden. A research project with promising results: At the final meeting at project partner BHS Corrugated, three exciting use cases from the project "Collaborative Digital Twin in Value Networks (Co-TWIN)" were presented. Our colleague Tobias Schrödl, representing up2parts GmbH, presented the industry-specific challenges and the solutions for cross-lifecycle and cross-company collaboration and communication developed as part of the research project. 

The Co-TWIN research project was launched in March 2019 with the aim of improving collaboration in mechanical and plant engineering through a holistic digital twin approach. 

Ordering machine parts: Saving time and resources

Thus, as part of the project, up2parts focused on developing a web-based solution that makes media and system discontinuities in the ordering process of machine parts a thing of the past. Digital interfaces between machine manufacturers and suppliers can save time and resources. In order to achieve the goal, the so-called "Asset Administration Shell" (AAS) was applied, a manufacturer-independent and industry-neutral standard for the provision of information and for communication to establish interoperability. 

Another use case of the project dealt with the use of augmented reality technology in plant configuration for sales support. The third application was dedicated to the optimization of service tasks on plants at the customer's site. 

Digital twin offers enormous opportunities for SMEs

Those involved in the project were convinced that the concept of the digital twin and the associated effects on value creation as well as collaboration of the future offer enormous opportunities, especially regarding the medium-sized German mechanical and plant engineering sector. 

"Although the first solutions have reached the factory floor, many potentials remain untapped so far. It is essential to create the appropriate framework conditions to be able to exploit these promising prospects and establish the digital twin in medium-sized companies as well," is the appeal of the project group. For this reason, the Co-TWIN project has taken an interdisciplinary approach to the digital twin with a focus on cross-lifecycle and cross-company collaboration and communication.

Participants at the closing event were able to experience the virtual configuration of a plant with the help of VR glasses and get to know the flow assembly and parts production of BHS Corrugated during a guided tour. 

The project was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as one of 13 projects of the funding measure "Industry 4.0 - Collaborations in Dynamic Value Networks (InKoWe)" with 2.8 million euros over three years.

Many thanks to BHS Corrugated Maschinen- und Anlagenbau GmbH in Weiherhammer for organizing the event and giving us the opportunity to conclude the successful project in such an impressive setting.

Further information about "Co-TWIN" can be found on the project website.