Visualisation facility opens for advanced manufacturing

Knowing how a product will operate and interact with existing processes before it is implemented could achieve productivity gains of up to 25 per cent.

Software designed to achieve these advancements, known as digital twins, are now being adopted by top global companies, with the International Data Corporation estimating that 30 per cent of the top 2000 global companies will be using Internet of Things (IoT) enabled digital twins by 2020.

Enabling local access to this technology is a new facility at CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm, Data61.

The Mixed Reality Lab, launched on August 20 in Melbourne, will allow Australian manufacturers to experiment with digital twins, without extensive investment or expertise.

The Lab utilises industrial and consumer optical camera and sensing equipment that captures a wealth of data on a physical object and the space surrounding it.

The digital twin is then created by algorithms which process the data created by the cameras and sensors.

The applicability for the manufacturing sector is far reaching, according to Matt Bolger, senior software engineer at Data61.

“This technology is game-changing for manufacturing and other industries. By comparing a digital twin of a manufactured object against the original design, we can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively identify defects and map entire manufacturing processes across a global supply chain,” said Bolger.

With Australian manufacturers on the cusp of wholescale Industry 4.0 adoption, technologies and facilities such as the mixed Reality lab will allow businesses to identify where new technologies could be utilised in their production process.

“This is the future of smart factories, where the digitalisation of the full value chain will enable real-time situational awareness and lead to better decision making and planning,” said Dr Simon Barry, analytics and decision sciences research director at Data61.

The potential applicability of the Lab’s technology ranges from movement analysis to biomechanical modelling, and defect detection.

“Taking up technologies, like digital twins and augmented reality, can improve productivity and strengthen our competitive advantage in a global value chain,” said Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews.