Modelling digital twins…

Image by 652234 from Pixabay

Digital twins are becoming increasingly important. They provide a possibility to monitor their real twin without the need for costly measurements and sending technicians to the site where the real twin is located. However, development of them is not so easy and is almost one-off for every twin pair.

The paper “A Model-driven Approach for Knowledge-based Engineering of Industrial Digital Twins” presents a new approach to constructing digital twins for factories. Authored by Sushant Vale, Sreedhar Reddy, Sivakumar Subramanian, Subhrojyoti Roy Chaudhuri, Sri Harsha Nistala, Anirudh Deodhar, and Venkataramana Runkana, it introduces a method that enhances efficiency of monitoring and predictive maintenance of industrial plants.

Typically, digital twins are created manually for each plant, which is a labor-intensive process. This paper proposes a model-driven method, structured on three levels of abstraction: the meta-level, plant-type level, and plant-instance level. The meta-level outlines universal structures and vocabulary, the plant-type level focuses on knowledge specific to various plant types, and the plant-instance level details a digital twin for a specific plant. These levels correspond to different user roles: platform builders, plant type experts, and plant experts, respectively. This hierarchical structure enables element reuse across different plants and types, streamlining the digital twin development process. The effectiveness of this method is exemplified in a case study of an iron ore sinter plant.

The process begins with establishing high-level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as sinter throughput or reduction degradation index. These KPIs are then translated into a mathematical model, followed by a causal graph, and finally, a digital twin design/model. Remarkably, this approach significantly reduced the time required to formulate the quality optimization problem to approximately one week, down from two months, marking a substantial improvement in efficiency. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates the substantial advantages of a multi-level modeling approach in designing digital twins, offering a more efficient, standardized, and scalable solution.

Author: Miroslaw Staron

I’m professor in Software Engineering at IT faculty. I usually blog about interesting articles (for me) and my own reflections on the development of Software Engineering, AI, computer science and automotive software.