Siemens: harnessing digital twins for safe production
By harnessing a combination of hardware and software, Siemens has developed a new solution for companies facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new solution uses integrated digital twins to simulate the work environment, providing organisations with the capability to test and optimise the setup of work areas, validate safety measures and develop future proof production lines, as well as control how employees interact with each other, the production line and with how the manufacturing plant is configured.
When it comes to kick starting operations, Siemens states that “it is not just a case of re-establishing operating processes with new standards; the safety of each individual employee in terms of social distancing will also be a much more important consideration in future.”
With this in mind Siemens’ new solution harnesses the Simatic RTLS real time location system which provides organisations with the capability to measure, monitor and maintain the social distancing measure. Via wearable RTLS transponders with infrastructure devices, organisations can track the movement of employees in clearly defined areas while maintaining all applicable data protection regulations. The Simatic RTLS’s real time data can also be combined with a digital twin of a production environment. To process the location data from the transponders, Siemens has also integrated its SieTrace software into the new solution. SieTrace uses an algorithm to determine the distance between employees. If the social distance is below 1.5m a warning is sent to all involved via an e-link display on the transponder to ensure social distancing can be implemented continuously.
Should an employee contract COVID-19, organisations can utilise this solution to determine the possible interaction scenarios between their employees, as well as identify possible ‘hotspots’ for high risk areas quickly and easily. As a result organisations can utilise this knowledge to implement safety concepts to areas where there is a specific need for optimisation reducing the need for large cost intensive hygiene measures across an entire site.
With this new solution developed by Siemens, organisations can benefit from increased transparency relating to movement data from Simatic RTLS. A benefit which can be effectively utilised by other applications.
“The intelligence acquired based on position data for the digital twin provides the company with a comprehensive overview of material flow, order information or possible problem areas for the entire company. With precise location information, time-consuming searches can be minimised or bottlenecks avoided entirely, while throughput and efficiency in the company can be increased. Real-time locating systems support the successful implementation of safety concepts, while also revealing potential for optimisation for innovative production and logistics concepts,” commented in a company statement.