What's a Digital Twin?

For example, Tesla has all its cars connected to the cloud, and I am assuming it can log all sensor data for all cars. They are certainly putting together all of this data in order to build an accurate representation of their cars, and predict what it will happen if you do a certain action. And I am not just talking about maintenance here, I am talking about the deeper decisions that the car can make.

For example, according to the weather forecast, the wear of your brakes and the banking of the next curve, there are very few chances you would be able to negotiate it at a given speed without using traction control. The autopilot would therefore bring it down a notch in order to save the use of certain sensors/mechanism.

How can I save money by developing my robot’s digital twin?

Well, for now, let’s be honest: it will cost you more to gather data than not doing it. And you will be able to do very few things with such information. On the other hand, you should have started to gather data yesterday . Either it is for your own utilization (performance, efficiency, cycle time) or to put all this data together and do something with it (I don’t know what, exactly).

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Have you ever lost production time because your unattended cell was down? Insights allows you to create custom events. Any stop in production will send a notification so that you can get back to production faster. You can also download a log of events for further analysis.

A software like Insights allows you to optimize your cycle time, reduce the downtimes via instant alerts on your cell phone, but it also gives you the pulse of your production in terms of units produced in one day for example. At the end of the day, you save money right? You have to pay a certain amount of money to install the license, but if you can optimize your program to be 5% faster, allowing you to produce more in a day, your investment will be repaid instantly.

That’s it for now, but if you look at data that a software like Insights is putting together, it is an opportunity to have robots that can optimize themselves or even make decisions based on their previous experiences. One day, we will reach a point where the robot will ask you to optimize its paths or ask if it is allowed to perform a particular actions in a given situation. We will then be in presence of a digital twin. But we are far from being able to do that.

For now, keep logging your data and who knows what you will be able to do with it. As a production engineer, I totally recommend you to start now, to at least have the heartbeat of your production. Only then will you be able to determine trends and eventually be able to take action to either optimize your production or avoid having a breakdown, and eventually save money.

This article has been republished with permission from Robotiq.