A digital information twin to deliver non-stop insights
Wednesday, July 12 2017
Karlsruhe, July 12, 2017. The structure of machinery and equipment is growing increasingly complex. As digitalization and Industry 4.0 are intensifying, the share of electronic and software components is ever increasing while the share of mechanical components is going down. By merging the information on all equipment components in a product lifecycle management and document management system and by doing so throughout its entire lifecycle, companies get a 1:1 representation of every piece of information on the equipment delivered to the customer. The StrikoWestofen Group also leverages such a lifecycle file as a ‘digital information twin’ to assure complete and accurate documentation of its order processing and to accelerate delivery.
The discussion on the concept of having a digital twin is gaining momentum as the engineering industry is entering the age of digitalization and Industry 4.0. The lifecycle file represents just that. Equipment can only be fully documented throughout its entire lifecycle if every piece of lifecycle management and technical document management (DMStec) information is merged and put at the fingertips of the engineering company that built it. All data and documents pertaining to a particular product are brought together in a customer-related or project-specific manner to exactly mirror the equipment delivered – essentially creating a ‘digital information twin’.
This translates, among other things, into the ability to better assess any defects by providing companies with an exhaustive documentation of how each and every piece of the customer’s machinery looks like – down to every last detail. What pump and motor were installed? What software is powering the drive control, who did the last service and when? By digitally documenting every detail of every piece of machinery delivered to their customers, companies obtain a digital representation of this machinery – a digital information twin. With this complete digital documentation at hand, they can pinpoint and resolve defects faster because they know right away which pump or motor needs to be replaced and by whom it was originally delivered.
The PRO.FILE users at StrikoWestofen Group start out each order with a “product folder”, which serves as a master for a specific unit. Once the order is confirmed, the first instance of the information twin is derived and associated with the customer’s order ID. From here on forward, the twin sets out on its development journey: It starts out as an initial installation plan and includes standardized steel construction elements alongside pre-developed components that are already available in PRO.FILE. Only the customer-specific components are designed from scratch. At the end of the journey, the equipment is ready to be shipped and its documentation is 100% complete. But it is not just for ‘technological reasons’ that the company takes this stringent approach. “It is the most crucial element in our ability to deliver as fast as we do,” points out Georgios Petsidis, Head of Design at StrikoWestofen.