While Industry 4.0 slowly finds its way into production processes, the digital factory has already been established for some time in a number of sectors. Corresponding software solutions for the digital factory already help companies to define, validate, simulate and optimize their production processes to be efficient and cost-effective.
The virtual automation of production processes begins long before the start of production, i.e. in the early phase of layout definition and process planning. Then it extends from the selection of optimal production variants to the concrete engineering with detailed plant configuration as well as robot and machine simulation and offline programming.
Using mechatronic components and resources combined with the schematic logic definition of the production cell or line, the exact behavior of the cell can be defined and depicted in a much simpler and more realistic fashion. A digital twin defined in this manner can also be connected to the real control system. This way, it can be ensured that the simulated and real behavior match. The simulation is based on the same logic used in PLC programming and, thus, corresponds with the real plant behavior later.