Steven Sischy, from APS Industrial, speaks with Food and Beverage Industry News about the benefits of digitisation and digital twins in manufacturing.
For a long time, the industry standard when it came to digital twins was to leave it for the end of the digitisation process but Steven Sischy, from APS Industrial, believes the sooner a manufacturer implements it, the better off it will be.
Sischy said one of the major benefits to digitisation and digital twins was saving time through efficiency and being able to monitor the entire manufacturing process more closely.
In this context, a digital twin means a digital copy of a component of a machine line, a single machine, a production line or even a whole plant, making for faster and more accurate data recording.
“The product is also able to get to market quicker,” said Sischy.
Most food and beverage companies must face big challenges like shorter time-to-market, cost reduction, better quality, and increased flexibility to adapt to market changes.
Digitalisation seems to hold the answer to these challenges. Through new, disruptive technologies like digital twins, AI, edge computing, cloud services, traditional workflows can be shortened.
APS Industrial help companies with digitisation and the implementation of digital twins, with a host of positive case studies to highlight the benefits.
When it comes to cost, a barrier to most changes, APS offers a way for clients to see how digitisation would impact on production.
“At APS we can actually simulate a complete machine without any upfront investment,” said Sischy.
This allows the company to demonstrate the outcome of digitisation and digital twins to a potential client minus the risk of taking a financial hit for it.
“We can simulate mechanically, electrically, it’s a complete simulation,” said Sischy.
“If we find any problems we can go and do the adaption, like changing the mechanical design, for example.
“We can then start take that and put that straight back into the digital twin and test to see that it will actually work.”
The digital twin is not limited to a single phase in the development process.
It has impact and relevance for the entire life cycle, from the early design stages onward through commissioning, operations and retrofit.
Another critical outcome of digitisation is the increased security it can bring to the manufacturing process.
“From a security perspective you are building the infrastructure around the core components and in food and beverage you have something called the block chain, which is a way of securing recipes or components that are critical to a process,” said Sischy.
“Your IP is retained and there are other ways of validating who is doing the changes, RFI readers for example, were if you don’t have the right tags, you won’t be able to do it.
“It is hierarchy based and if you are a plant operator you will have the ability to change some components but not the entire recipe.”
There is also a series of security levels created, including certificate validation, which means every person who has been granted access to and used the machinery is known.
The advantages to digitisation are extensive and only a small portion of them have been touched on here, however the message from Sischy and APS Industrial is clear, digitisation is the way forward for the food and beverage industry.