Interoperability is enhanced by emerging digital twins standards

Interoperability is enhanced by emerging digital twins standards ...

Digital twins have the potential to alter the way goods are designed, constructed, and operated to improve sustainability and profitability. However, most digital twin projects to date have focused on a specific use case. Emerging digital twins standards promise to help connect the dots between individual digital twins to enable system.

The International Standards Organization (ISO), the Industrial Digital Twins Association (IDTA) and the Digital Twins Consortium are developing several standards, posing challenges for unified digital twins into systems. At the Digital Twin Summit, experts from each organization weighed in on where these standards are today and what they will do.

According to Irene Petrick, the senior director of industrial innovation at Intel, people tend to think about digital twins as monolithic structures.

Instead, we must think about digital twins as being anchored in a perspective, according to Petrick.

System of digital twin systems

What a digital twin needs and how it adds value are different when measured at the level of a machine, a factory production cell, engineering and design, or a leadership level, Petrick explained. A broader adoption of standards might assist the system-of-systems approach.

Sameer Kher, the senior director of product development at Ansys, who also serves as the DTC''s steering committee, pointed out that a manufacturing facility is usually comprised of various types of equipment. Each of these components, however, is composed of engineering systems such as robot arms, motor drives, and software. Standards are vital for all these things to thrive in the virtual world.

The DTC is attempting to address this issue by developing a collection of open-source software to help with best practices and facilitate open-source collaboration.

Enabling different types of questions

Boeing has been a strong advocate of digital twin standards for decades, and has worked with various organizations in order to transform them from the physical world to the digital.

According to Kenneth Swope, the senior manager of Boeing''s enterprise interoperability standards, these [standards] used to be in terms of things like processes and properties and characteristics of physical things. And they continue to be so, but they are also now related to the data.

His team is aiming to improve the use and exchange of information across groups involved in engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, and services. The data has been used by his teams for a while.

The really interesting thing about digital twins is the opportunity to ask various kinds of questions, to even understand the age-old business issues such as how can I make my product safer, how can I make my product with superior quality, and how can I make my product more efficient, according to Swope.

The ISO-23247 standard was developed by Boeing to show how digital twins could aide in designing and assembly of fasteners in a jet wing. Using digital twins in tandem with instrumentation in the manufacturing process helped identify opportunities to reduce the size and the number of fasteners, reducing hundreds of pounds off the weight of a wing.

The use of digital connections is promised by digital acquaintances.

Gordon (Guodong) Shao is a computer scientist in the lifecycle engineering group at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). He has been instrumental in coordinating efforts on the ISO-23247 standard and developing best practices as part of a NIST manufacturing testbed. He has also written up a deep dive on various use cases of the technology.

Shao explained that digital twins require the creation of components for data collection, processing, communication, modeling, analytics, and control. Some of these can be distributed, therefore there is a significant challenge to harmonise these various components because of that.

Shao said that we must adopt a system-of-systems approach to characterize and manage these subsystems in order to ensure cross-disciplinary interoperability and preserve the credibility of digital twins.

To assist manufacturers choose building blocks for digital twin implementations, ISO-23247 may assist them in analyzing digital twin project requirements and using common terminology when communicating with suppliers, partners, and customers.

With these new standards, digital threads can connect the dots between information from several components of a product life cycle. Digital threads will assist in maximizing enterprise level that is larger than local optimization available with siloed digital twins.

A lifecycle approach

Heute, digital twins are mostly application-driven.

So, according to Christian Mosch, the digital twin, we need the interoperable digital twin so we can understand the difference between these two different machines.

The IDTA Asset Administration Shell standard provides a framework for sharing data across the ten most diverse lifecycle phases, such as planning, development, construction, commissioning, and operation at the end of life.

It provides a way of thinking about assets such as a robot arm, as well as the administration of the various data and documents that describe it throughout various lifecycle phases. The shell is a means of continuously collecting and updating information and documentation. For example, the robot arm might include engineering information such as 3D geometry drawings, design properties, and simulation results. It may also include proof certifications.

The Asset Administration Shell brings data from operations technology used to manage equipment on the shop floor into the IT realm to represent data across the lifecycle. For example, the robot arm creates a stream of operations data once it hits the shop floor that is collected using OPC UA standards. Teams may also create processes that use this robot using customs written in automation ML.

The digital twin standards are still modest. The ISO-23247 standard was only finalized in October. However, panelists anticipate that widespread adoption might play a significant role in physical transformation.

Shao said that when you look at systems of systems, as well as the lifecycle approach, and how you use the digital thread, you can save a lot of money on the information exchange, reuse the information, and avoid customized effort.

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