This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Manufacturers around the globe strive to improve production efficiency. While they have made great strides in recent years, some feel they have hit a virtual wall with certain key performance indicators. One innovation helping manufacturers to drive digital transformation is the Microsoft Azure Digital Twins platform, which provides virtual modelling capabilities for physical environments in a contextualised way.
Worldwide automation software developer ICONICS has worked closely with Microsoft to create a Digital Twins for Manufacturing solution that is built on the Microsoft Azure Digital Twins platform. ICONICS’ solution works by integrating its classic remote monitoring, statistical quality control/statistical process control and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) manufacturing capabilities with the Azure platform. Each asset is represented virtually within the twin object model to inform its digital equivalent of real-time updates from connected programmable logic controllers, internet of things (IoT) sensors, or the manufacturing equipment itself over the cloud.
“ICONICS’ new Digital Twins for Manufacturing takes advantage of advances in cloud and IoT technology and provides insightful context about physical manufacturing environments by correlating data from digital sources, truly making the invisible visible for end users and system integrators,” says Russ Agrusa, president and CEO of ICONICS.
The Digital Twins for Manufacturing software enables customers to improve core areas such as engineering time and resources, productivity, operations management, quality and customisation. This helps manufacturers measure performance, optimise the bottom line, improve OEE and maximise the capabilities of its existing assets.
In addition, the solution works in conjunction with ICONICS IoTWorX software to perform real-time visualisation, collection and analysis of data that comes directly from manufacturing equipment or IoT sensors. Using big data analytics delivers significant savings because it gives operators insight into the health of their asset portfolio and allows them to compare equipment, facilities, or even the performance of their employees.
ICONICS has previously worked with Microsoft and global robotics technology firms to demonstrate the digital twin concept, showing how Microsoft HoloLens could be used to visualise and control an IoT-connected manufacturing robot via ICONICS’ Holographic Machine Interface. These demos also highlighted how Microsoft HoloLens and ICONICS software could remotely monitor factory machines using augmented reality, natural gestures and the industrial internet of things. The company is showcasing its new Digital Twins for Manufacturing solution on Microsoft’s booth (Stand C40, Hall 7) at Hannover Messe 2019 in Hannover, Germany until 5 April.
Melissa Topp is senior director of global marketing at ICONICS
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