The digital twin is an essential component of smart factories.
Digital twins allow virtual physical and logistical testing of a product before any expensive prototypes are made or physical trials take place. A twin continuously learns and updates itself from multiple sources to show the near real-time status, working condition and position of the physical asset.
Whether viewed on screen as a 3D CAD model or interrogated more deeply using mixed reality or virtual reality (VR) glasses, the twin reveals product design features and flaws that were previously unavailable to the engineer.
A crucial benefit is building a digital twin of the smart factory itself, when the twin knows what is happening inside the facility. While the factory is being optimised with different configurations of autonomous lines and “production islands”, the digital twin records the performance metrics. This helps engineers and factory architects to design the best, most configurable and efficient system for making that product range.
FARO technology, including cameras, laser scanners and sensors, captures the positional data to build the digital twin. It connects the physical asset to its digital copy. “Like a human has eyes and sensors in his fingers to feel something, we have FARO technology to connect the physical to the digital worlds,” says Dr Denis Wohlfeld, Senior Innovation Manager at FARO.
Engineers agree that having a digital twin of a product or building greatly improves its final functionality.