The pilot experiments were selected to be part of the project to illustrate the potential of digital twin technologies, to provide the proof of concept to the project consortium and last but not least to inspire other manufacturing SMEs to adopt a digital twin. This means that the four pilot companies go through the entire process of assessment and digital twin deployment like companies which get Change2Twin funding. The only difference is that the pilots go through the process a few months earlier so that the concept can still be adjusted before it is applied to beneficiaries in the Assessment and Deployment calls. Currently, the pilots successfully completed the assessment and are already in the process of building their digital twins together with their mentors and technology providers.
Who are the pilots?
The four companies participating in the pilot experiments have been chosen to represent different types of manufacturing companies, different aspects of the lifecycle and also different types of simulations for digital twinning. These pilots are Aetna/Robopac (Italy) from the packaging industry, Graphenstone (Spain) that produces custom made paint, the 3D metal printing machinery builder Additive Industries (the Netherlands) and Space Structures (Germany) that does prothesis design.
Assessment phase done
All four pilots have gone through the assessment phase in winter and now they are ready for digital twin deployment using the 7-steps method. The assessment process was broken down into two stages.
In the first stage, the Compass tool assessed the digitalisation level of each company. The result was a ranking of digitalisation options and the relevance of digital twinning for the company. For Change2Twin pilots was the digital twinning relevance between medium and high. Thus, all the four pilots proceeded with the second stage of the assessment using the Digital twinning readiness tool. This is the second tool that provides companies with insights into their readiness levels, and thus leads to a clear path to reaching the desired state.
With the outcomes from both assessments in their hands, the pilot companies became aware of their technology choices and were ready to for the next phase – the 7-steps to digital twin.
In the case of the pilot experiments, the assessment was not done by a Digital Innovation Hub (as in case of Assessment Voucher beneficiaries) but by Change2Twin consortium partners. The assessment was also intended to be done on the premise, visiting the production site and meeting the representatives of the company in person. However, due to COV-19, most of the assessment work had to be done remotely. This required some adaptations in the process and also caused delays in the roadmap. But in the end the assessment process was successfully validated and is now ready to be used by Digital Innovation Hubs guiding companies whose projects have been selected for funding in the first open call – Assessment Voucher.
The pilot companies have to carefully fulfill every step in this process. For this purpose all pilots have been assigned a mentor from Change2Twin consortium who gives them guidance. In the first step, they had to clearly state why they want to digitalize and why they want to acquire a digital twin. There are many different digitalization solutions available and digital twin is just one of them. In the second step called asset selection, the companies selected the asset which they want to twin (process, product, organization…). This was an important decision and had to rely on the results of the assessment of the company’s digitalization level. Only after the asset was selected the companies could start with the infrastructure – defining which technologies will be used to build the digital twin. Currently, most pilots are in step four, building up their digital twin.
The next three steps: live operation, business action and cradle to grave will seamlessly follow in the upcoming weeks and months. We expect that many of the issues encountered in the pilot experiments will also arise in projects of the beneficiaries from the open calls. By executing these pilots, the consortium will be able to address these issues effectively, and by appointing mentors from the consortium to the open call winners, we aim to use this experience to their benefit. Change2Twin will launch the next open call – Deployment Voucher – on 30 June 2021 and will accept proposals from SMEs and midcaps until the end of September 2021.
Stay tuned – we will bring you a closer look at the individual experiments!