Experts and customer simulated the functionality and performance of the line already during the design phase.
The risks regarding the complex design and production phase were minimized by creating a digital twin and by strong cooperation during the design phase.
The project consists of a digital twin and virtual commissioning of the production line to secure the project delivery for the new designed machine sections (material infeed and baseplate removal) of a patching line. Different scenarios could be created with the digital twin to optimize the design (i.e. avoidance of mechanical collisions etc.) and validate the concept before manufacturing the real machine sections.
“Engineering based on the expertise of several experts, building the line and testing it in parts, transportation to the end customer, installation and commissioning” Petri Strengell, Operations Manager at the company Raute, which makes production lines for end users in the wood industry, lists the production phases of the 50-meter plywood production line.
Currently, the long line is packed into modules which will next be delivered to the end customer.
According to Mr. Strengell the size of the line is not the only factor which makes the production and delivery process complex and containing many risks.
Utilizing the right know-how at the right time is challenging when design and realization are long processes. Defining possible risks at an early project stage is the most challenging task. The objective of this project is to secure the delivery, reduce commissioning time and unexpected costs.
“The know-how associated with engineering and constructing is multidimensional, and often even personal. It is challenging to try to use the advantages of the real expertise at the right time since the engineering and the production are a time-consuming process.”
The critical challenges were found through cooperation
The people at Raute wanted to improve production performance and minimize the biggest risks related to the process. Siemens was chosen as partner for the cooperation.
“In addition to the required technological know-how, Siemens also had the tools which helped us identify the most critical parts in the production process”, summarizes Mr. Strengell.
According to Siemens Digitalization Sales Specialist Jukka Uotila,the riskiest phases were identified through the Value Hacker Method developed by Siemens, which helps to find solutions for the business challenges of the customer.
“Due to the large physical size of the line, the functioning of all the modules could not be tested at the facility in Nastola before delivery to the end customer. The testing phase preceding the delivery as well as the commissioning at the customer’s facility were identified as high-risk phases. If mistakes in the functioning of the line are noticed in either one of these phases, it is definitely too late.”
Digital twin as a solution
To reduce the risks related to the line, a digital twin was created.
Siemens digitalization offering for digital twin and engineering approach enabled to test concepts, to test functionality and to validate end-customer requirements of the production line during the design phase. As such, the project delivery risks were minimized and more evenly distributed among the different phases of the project. This allows to perform an efficient FAT (functional acceptance test) and avoid unexpected time delays and costs during commissioning. Another advantage is that the digital twin can be reused and adapted for future projects.
Mr. Uotila from Siemens as well as Mr. Strengell from Raute say that, with the help of the digital twin, the correct experts could be called together at the right phase of the process.
“They were able to challenge the chosen solutions, and different risk scenarios were identified before they were realized”, summarizes Mr. Strengell from Raute.
New ways of working and more engaged skilled workers
Mr. Strengell summarizes as one of the important benefits of the project the fact that, in addition to the right skilled workers, Raute’s customer – the end user of the line – was included in the engineering and production process.
The creation of a digital twin improved the engineering approach by strong cooperation of the different engineering departments (mechanical, electrical, automation) and the know-how sharing at an early stage during the design phase.
“Our own personnel working with the design and production of the line is also motivated as the experts were able to work more closely together through well-organized cooperation and the digital twin.”
The next step in the project is to transfer the tested line to the facility of the end user. The next improvement project that leverages on the digital twin is already in sight.
“During this project, the understanding of the colleagues at Raute relating to using the digital twin has increased and they have at their disposal the digital twin created during the project. In the next project, we at Siemens will have the role of supporters instead of the driving force”, summarizes Mr. Uotila from Siemens.
Read more about the Siemens digitalization offering
Woodworking for machine building solutions – Siemens Industry
Link to Trade Newspaper Kauppalehti (Helsinki, Finland)