Application of a hybrid digital twin concept for factory layout planning
Journal article, 2020
As the modern society is in the middle of its fourth industrial revolution, many enabling technologies are now viable to use in an engineering context. Several of these technologies are mature and available off the shelf; however, in the industrial setting they are rather novel. Two of these are virtual reality (VR), which has grown immensely in the gaming sector, and 3-D imaging, which is commonly used in archeology and construction. This study presents lessons learned from combining these two technologies in an industrial context with the digital twin concept. Three industrial case studies have been performed, and several observations have been identified in all three aspects of sustainability. For example, improved solution fidelity at an early stage can be achieved by externalizing tacit knowledge, and multiple issues during planning and installation phases have been avoided by utilizing the hybrid digital twin models. This type of digital twin enables highly detailed production system access, enabling engineering abilities from anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, the model becomes a powerful communication tool, which has reduced the resistance to workplace changes, as stakeholders lacking computer-aided design (CAD) knowledge can be involved in the change process. The highly detailed models have also allowed more focus to be put on safety and regulations, as these aspects naturally are more suited to experience in immersive VR. In conclusion, the hybrid digital twin concept developed in this study is a promising tool for decision makers and stakeholders alike, bound to benefit those who use it in all three aspects of sustainability.