The global Industry 4.0 market was valued at $116 billion in 2021 and is expected to increase to $337 billion by 2028. However, many technologies are influencing Industry 4.0''s incredible growth, but digital twin solutions are now being used to greatly improve warehouse automation efforts. This is done with the goal of increasing efficiency and downtime.
Digital twins can offer virtual representations of a physical environment that is especially beneficial to the warehouse industry. With a digital twin, new improvements and efficiencies can be easily tested, without downtime or rearrangement of physical assets.
Warehouse operations are rapidly expanding in complexity. Inventory is increasing, as the proliferation of ecommerce has resulted in increased supply chains. Logistics solutions are more complex, as customers expect lightning-fast fulfillment. Technology is more complex, as innovative new automation systems come to market, and managers must analyze the new systems to ensure that their warehouse operations are provided the greatest benefit.
Smart businesses are now developing digital twins of their warehouse operations and using them to handle operational difficulties and performance improvements to win.
Visualization and design made easier
Companies can use digital twins to experiment new floor plans and create new workflows virtually. They can also add additional variables and configuration parameters to the virtual model of their operations, and assess their impact. SKU mix, ordering, and shipping increased are all of the options. Automation efforts can be tested and their impact evaluated. In short, warehouse performance can be improved far more quickly and cost-effectively than previously.
Thousands of hours are invested in configuring and updating the software that runs the system, but one size does not fit all of them. In particular, a machine learning algorithm may conduct experiments; in that time, machine-learning may be the perfect system on the day it goes live.
Whether you are attempting to disrupt business during peak holiday shopping periods, how does it affect your system? How will your system respond to equipment downtime? A warehouse or distribution center equipped with digital twin technology can administer hundreds of possible scenarios in minimal time. This provides critical insights about average performance over time and identifies areas where you can increase your systems'' capacity to handle short- and long-term challenges. It also allows more timely decisions about when to service, upgrade, or replace the system.
Robotic systems go digital
The use of digital twin data is continuing to accelerate future-generation work in the warehouse. These artificial intelligence algorithms enable the internal dataset to reproduce into a digital twin, demonstrating the best-case scenarios of performance for the end user. Increased investment and R&D in machine learning will continue to improve operations.
Digital twins are now being used by forward-thinking businesses as a key component in their digital transformation. They are working on integrated process and asset data, combined with predictive analytics, to better assess their potential situations. They are increasing performance, efficiency, yield, and uptime.
Increasingly, digital transformation initiatives are being targeted, and industrial IoT and digital twins are playing a vital role. They are greatly increasing performance and ROI by enabling much more efficient, rapid and cost-effective analysis and decision-making.
Honeywell''s CTO, Thomas H. Evans, is the inventor of robotics.