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Video Game Development Tools Meet Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Resulting in Digital Twin Innovation

Author contributor: Advanced Software Group Engineering Manager, Cole Switzer When a prominent manufacturer wanted to observe and interact remotely with their production line in real-time, E Tech Group software developers brought their 3D game development expertise to deliver an innovative digital twin of the line. The twin mimics the behavior of its real-life counterpart in real time, visible in a 3D environment via web interface. Following its initial success, E Tech Group engineers broadened the tool’s scope to be fully configurable and controls system agnostic. They have plans to further expand upon the digital twin’s capabilities Creative Tools are Born of Full OT Network Connectivity As the manufacturing industry continues to move towards digitalization and Industry 4.0 physical systems and digital technologies are converging, resulting in highly creative tools that facilitate and optimize all parts of the production process. Obtaining full OT network connectivity is foundational to the future of large-scale manufacturing, as it opens the door to a variety of data-driven tools. One such tool that’s gaining traction for a variety of use-cases are virtual representations of a physical system, popularly called ‘digital twins.’ This article discusses the development of digital twins and reviews some of the creative ways they can be used for monitoring production, troubleshooting and process optimization. What is a Digital Twin? A digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-world system. In the context of automation in manufacturing, the ‘twin’ that is created can range in size and scale from a singular piece of equipment, all the way to a full production line, or even multiple production lines. As a virtual counterpart, a most basic digital twin is set up to visualize the behavior of the physical system it represents in real time – a virtual display. Created by collecting data from sensors and … Continued

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Challenge

In the mining industry, the ability to quickly respond to process changes is essential. One minor process change can negatively affect resource extraction and cause expensive periods of downtime. To help manage their complex operations, mining companies rely on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to oversee their industrial processes locally or at remote locations; however, these systems are oftentimes outdated which cause operational challenges. This was the case for a mining company focused on gold recovery who needed to upgrade their legacy SCADA system for enhanced control capabilities across multiple locations. E Tech Group was engaged to support their mining operations by upgrading their outdated SCADA system.

Solution

The gold-mining company needed to efficiently monitor and control its assets across multiple remote locations. The E Tech Group team strategized project deployment considerations with various stakeholders at the gold-mining company to maximize the customer’s efficiency and data acquisition efforts with the new SCADA system. E Tech Group applied their Solution Experts Business approach and staffed the project with control engineers specialized in SCADA solutions for a smooth deployment process.

The customer chose Ignition, an industrial application platform from Inductive Automation, to standardize their SCADA architecture due to its scalability and intuitive design features. As a Premier Ignition System Integrator, E Tech Group applied their expertise in Ignition implementation to streamline the migration process and enhance the company’s ability to make quick process decisions with real-time data reporting.

Results

Within a few short months, the E Tech Group team successfully supported the gold mining company’s migration to a new SCADA system. “For many companies, implementing the right SCADA system can save significant money, time, and process headaches. The peace of mind that SCADA provides from its remote visibility and asset control benefits is priceless and supports more real-time, data-driven production decisions”, says Pedro Bertoni, E Tech Group Project Manager about the advantages of SCADA systems.

E Tech Group is continuing to support the gold-mining company with upgrades to their programable logic controllers as well as data acquisition enhancements from remote panels.