As consulting engineers, we get many questions which can be hard to answer, eg: Will our future slaughterhouse be capable of delivering the required results – even when producing in peak seasons? Our employees say that they are too busy and have too much in their hands – can you help us? Will it pay off to build a new facility or will it be more optimal to reorganise the production with more efficient machines?
When we get these kinds of questions, a simulation can help us to show several different scenarios at the same time thus enabling us to advise our client in the best possible way.
A realistic representation of reality
A simulation is a 3D representation of reality containing all the data that we get from the client. As an example, we can model a realistic representation of the working procedures at a slaughterhouse or a hospital. In this way, we can set up several different scenarios. What will happen if we hire more employees for the production line? If we change the way we pack our goods? What will happen if the blood samples are taken in another way? If we scan all patients when they arrive?
Together with the client we find the solution that will eliminate bottlenecks, minimise heavy workloads, and at the same time be the most cost-efficient solution. Or else we will find the solution that just answers the questions which we cannot solve in Excel. This is simulation.
We can make a simulation by plotting all available data into a 3D modelling and calculation programme.
Can we settle for less robot cars?
We can make a simulation by plotting all available data into a 3D modelling and calculation programme. The result is a representation of the production which the client wants us to review and improve. This is called a Digital Twin.
As an example, we have helped the Copenhagen University Hospital with their future sterilisation centres where questions about AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) appeared. How many AGVs should we invest in to be able to deliver all articles to the departments on time?
After having designed the hospital in 3D, inserted the correct throughputs and times, and measured when the departments receive the different articles with the different number of AGVs we could tell the client that a smaller AGV park can deliver the same results – by slightly changing the delivery times and prioritising the important deliveries. Thus, the client could save money and at the same time get a more robust solution through a simulation – a digital twin – where the assumptions compared to the results were tested and assessed.
In other words, a simulation is based on a combination of the assumptions and reality of the clients. We speak with the clients about how they imagine that the future reality will look like. It is therefore important that the client knows enough about his own products and the process to be simulated in order for us to create a trustworthy simulation.
Simulation and virtual reality is here to stay and it will only get more relevant in the future.
Simulation is the future
According to the financial and engineering circles, at the moment we are in Industry 3.0 – the 3rd industrial revolution. Since the Second World War electronics and later computers have paved the way for automated machines and processes as we know it today. We are now on the threshold of Industry 4.0 – the intelligent industry of the future – where the physical production is integrated with the digital world. Here we have a huge network of things communicating with each other, thus making it even easier to streamline processes through simulation.
Furthermore, the client will get a full virtual reality simulation and will be able to walk around a factory, which has not yet been built, and see different production scenarios. In that way, the client will get a greater understanding of the sizes and the final production. Simulation and virtual reality is here to stay and it will only get more relevant in the future.
A great tool for decision making
In large modern production facilities with complex production lines, increased complexity in orders and lower margins, it can be hard to find the root of the problems. The Digital Twin can simulate the processes in a visually appealing way therefore it may be used as a strong communication tool in workshops to build a common understanding among the various members of the audience.