Digital Factory Concept Implementation
Fraunhofer J_LEAPT at DICMAPI Naples
The Digital Factory is a new concept based on the integration of diverse digital methodologies and tools in the field of production engineering. The Digital Factory can be defined as a “comprehensive network of digital models, methods, and tools, including modelling, simulation and 3D/Virtual Reality visualization, integrated by a continuous data management”. The aim of this set of software tools and methodologies is to comprehensively design, model, simulate, evaluate and optimize products, processes and systems before a new factory is built or any modification is actually carried out on an existing system, in order to improve quality and reduce time. One of the main advantages of the Digital Factory is that all the aspects of a factory can be developed and improved until the physical manufacturing of a product meets the quality, time and cost requirements. The Digital Factory provides solutions to design, evaluate, monitor and control an entire manufacturing system based on 3D CAD, simulation, database and computer networks.
The Digital Factory involves the use of simulation along the entire process chain, from the development of a new product, to associated production equipment planning and production organization. Therefore, it involves more than the simple use of simulation tools. Models created for one purpose can potentially be used to provide support for other tasks. This requires that the simulation models can be fed with historical data as well as with snapshot data. The focus and key factor in this paradigm is the combination of the various planning and simulation processes by using common data for all applications. This approach would enable collaboration with the employment of virtual models for different purposes and different levels of detail.
At the Fraunhofer J_LEAPT, diverse simulation software tools are employed to optimize and validate manufacturing systems.
Discrete Event Simulation is employed in order to analyse manufacturing systems behaviour in terms of production flow, productivity, utilization of the available facilities, bottlenecks of the system, and throughput time.
3D motion simulation can be conveniently adopted to examine layout, ergonomics, and robotics issues.