Human Twin in Mechanical Engineering – Making People Part of Plant Planning
What is a digital twin and human twin?
A digital twin is a digital model that replicates a real process or machine in real time. The digital twin is continuously fed real machine data – meaning it reflects a machine’s actual behavior at all times. The collected data is processed in a virtual environment and is used, on one hand, to improve the efficiency and performance of processes and, on the other hand, to constantly monitor the machine. This not only minimizes risks, it also reduces costs. Issues such as process optimization, improved quality, cost reduction and improved automation are always the focus of using a digital twin. A human twin is considered a supplement to a digital twin. It is not only the machine, but also the people at a production facility, that are integrated as virtual models into the simulation. Planning and monitoring production using this digital human offers companies the opportunity to develop operational solutions that digitally represent each and every element.
Learn more about the Human Twin and what this new technology can do for your company.
What has happened so far?
Workplace design has always involved a great deal of time and money. This is because changes and adjustments needed to be planned well in advance, while practical tests were only possible after things were actually set up. In the worst case, this meant that incorrect planning was only seen at this stage, and rework was required. The problem was obvious: manual workstations and plants were planned and built without humans actually being involved. The solution: simulations involving a human twin. When people are part of the simulation from the start, collaboration between humans and machines can be included in the early stages of IT infrastructure development.
Integrating a human twin into a simulation
How is the human twin integrated into a simulation? Using existing libraries, models can be created quickly and easily in simulation software such as iPhysics. Next, the assembly order is decided – first the left and then the right hand. Containers, devices and tools are then added digitally. Based on times from an MTM table, the time needed for actions such as grabbing, setting down, threading, assembling, etc. can be determined in a simulation. Lastly, the workstation is optimized for several verions of products and applications, allowing companies to create ergonomic workplaces and help prevent physiological and other health problems.
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How can mechanical engineering companies benefit from human twins?
Creating a human twin allows engineers and designers to test and optimize machines and plants taking human involvement into consideration, before physical prototypes are made. This can lead to a reduction in development time and costs.
Error recognition and troubleshooting
By simulating human behavior in the workplace, potential errors or problems can be identified early and corrected before anything is physically implemented. This helps improve overall efficiency and quality.
The human twin can help optimize ergonomics in the workplace. This is particularly important to ensure workplaces are safe and comfortable – which in turn increases productivity.
- Process optimization
By simulating human behavior, mechanical engineering processes can be optimized. This includes things like improving workflows, minimizing waiting times and maximizing efficiency.
- Training and development
The digital twin can also be used for training and development purposes. Employees can be trained in a virtual environment such as the industrial metaverse and learn about machines and processes before operating them in the real world.
- Data analysis and improvements
Collecting and analyzing data from simulation can lead to continuous improvements. This allows the human twin to be optimized over time and raise performance in the real world.
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How do human twins work?
With human twin simulation, you get much faster, much easier, much more and, above all, much more precise information about processes, times and critical points of a new workstation than ever before. This results in assembly stations that are more productive, ergonomic, efficient and effective than before. That’s because these assembly stations were simulated and tested many times before they were actually built, and more versions were tried out, revised and, if necessary, rejected, than could ever be done with the actual hardware. And that means you can create faster, more productive and more ergonomic workstations, and put cost-intensive employee capacities to use in a more goal-oriented and productive way. In particular, ramp-up times at maximum capacity are significantly shortened when a human twin is used, as testing and refining the assembly stations was able to be carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner, long in advance, before anything is phyiscally assembled. The greatest advantages are that sales quantities are produced reliably and with their quality assured, delivery dates are met and profits are generated more quickly than without a human twin.
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Where are human twins put to use?
The human twin is used as part of virtual commissioning, especially when a new assembly station is being set up or existing assembly workstations need to be retrofitted or changed. Some examples include new versions of products, new product launches on existing assembly stations or redesigns as part of optimization efforts. The importance of this technology for the industrial internet of things in the planning, maintenance and development of plants is reflected in the benefits for the system that is later created. Especially when used in combination with the digital twin in production and assembly, the human twin is becoming increasingly crucial for ideal work in plants.
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