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MediaService Digital Industries Newsroom

Glass Industry 4.0 – Digital twins, Industrial Edge and artificial intelligence leverage potential 

The principle of digitalization in the glass industry is based on the digital twins of product, process and plant design, engineering and commissioning as well as current production.

For many companies that want to embrace the digital transformation, the first question is where to start with the digitalization process. Fortunately, the answer is simple: anywhere in the value chain, both for brownfield and greenfield plants. With the performance twin as the link between virtual and real production, it is possible to continuously optimize production. For greenfield plants - in other words completely new-built digitalized plants - virtual production begins in the process and plant design phase. This digital twin can then be used in real production with minimal effort, which saves engineering effort and reduces time to market. In addition, the virtual twin increases the efficiency of the design because it can be used to run through and test multiple configurations.

Continuous optimization of existing plants

In brownfield plants - in other words existing operational plants - hardware, software and processes are already established. It is however possible to use the benefits of the digital twin in order to optimize existing processes and equipment. For example, the digital twin can be used to make sense of information silos and to carry out activities for modernization and maintenance based on current documentation. This process can reduce errors and downtimes considerably. Thanks to a seamless collaboration platform, suppliers and intralogistics can also be integrated into these processes. 

Expertise and cutting-edge technologies

A key component of the comprehensive Siemens digitalization approach is “Digitalization Consulting”. Siemens experts can take all of the general conditions of a company into consideration. “Consulting results in the creation of a digitalization roadmap, which considers, highlights and evaluates specific requirements, business models and existing infrastructure (IT (information technology) & OT (operational technology)),” explains Tobias Wachtmann, Head of Vertical Glass & Solar at Siemens. In addition, customers can use Siemens Industrial Edge to combine the benefits of edge computing and the cloud. With Industrial Edge, data can be fully evaluated and analyzed on the machine and then transferred to an open IoT operating system such as MindSphere for further use. “Artificial intelligence is also an important design feature for the future of automation in the glass industry,” states Wachtmann. “In future, scalable solutions will be possible from field level through controller and edge level to the cloud.” Fully automated production processes will improve transparency and efficiency at all levels. 
MediaService application reports may be based on previously published Siemens technical articles.


Ursula Lang

Digital Industries

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