How to model and implement connections between physical and virtual models for digital twin application

Jiang, Haifan, Qin, Sheng-feng, Fu, Jianlin, Zhang, Jian and Ding, Guofu (2021) How to model and implement connections between physical and virtual models for digital twin application. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 58 (Part B). pp. 36-51. ISSN 0278-6125

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Digital twin (DT) is a virtual mirror (representation) of a physical world or a system along its lifecycle. As for a complex discrete manufacturing system (DMS), it is a digital model for emulating or reproducing the functions or actions of a real manufacturing system by giving the system simulation information or directly driven by a real system with proper connections between the DT model and the real-world system. It is a key building block for smart factory and manufacturing under the Industry 4.0 paradigm. The key research question is how to effectively create a DT model during the design stage of a complex manufacturing system and to make it usable throughout the system's lifecycle such as the production stage. Given that there are some existing discussions on DT framework development, this paper focuses on the modeling methods for rapidly creating a virtual model and the connection implementation mechanism between a physical world production system at a workshop level and its mirrored virtual model. To reach above goals, in this paper, the discrete event system (DES) modeling theory is applied to the three-dimension DT model. First, for formally representing a manufacturing system and creating its virtual model, seven basic elements: controller, executor, processor, buffer, flowing entity, virtual service node and logistics path of a DMS have been identified and the concept of the logistics path network and the service cell is introduced to uniformly describe a manufacturing system. Second, for implementing interconnection and interaction, a new interconnection and data interaction mechanism between the physical system and its virtual model for through-life applications has been designed. With them, each service cell consists of seven elements and encapsulates input/output information and control logic. All the discrete cells are constructed and mapped onto different production-process-oriented digital manufacturing modules by integrating logical, geometric and data models. As a result, the virtual-physical connection is realized to form a DT model. The proposed virtual modeling method and the associated connection mechanism have been applied to a real-world workshop DT to demonstrate its practicality and usefulness.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital twin, Cyber-physical system, Discrete event system modeling theory, Virtual-physical connection
Subjects: H700 Production and Manufacturing Engineering
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2020 10:17
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2022 03:30

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