In the course of advancing digitalisation, the concept of the Digital Twin has become increasingly important and is intended to enable a rising productivity and efficiency in the area of production systems. Due to the partial implementation of Digital Twins in sectors such as aviation and the automotive industry, a great potential of Digital Twins for other industrial sectors getting apparent. Energy-intensive production plants, such as the extrusion process in the rubber industry, can be driven towards resource-saving processes, in terms of energy consumption and raw material use, through the diverse possibilities of Digital Twin concepts.

Schematic process description

© Semperit

The aim of the research project is the development of a Digital Twin architecture, according to the modular construction system, in the field of rubber extrusion.

During the project, a Digital Twin architecture is going to be developed for a production line in the field of rubber extrusion. The work begins with an investigation of the current state of the art and a survey of the scope of the Digital Twin architecture. The aim of the process analysis is to collect key parameters of the extrusion process and to document the collected knowledge of the process in a central knowledge base. The knowledge base forms the foundation for identifying suitable methods for data analysis and modelling.

For the transfer of the real production line into virtual space, a functional Digital Twin of the rubber extrusion process is to be modelled. For the modelling of the complex process, combined with strongly non-linear and time-dependent material behaviour, both physical and data-driven modelling methods are considered.

The core element of the Digital Twin architecture is the data layer, which shall contain the domain knowledge of the process in machine-readable form and the data (process data, material data, etc.). The semantic description of the process is to be realised with the help of an ontology and embedded in the Digital Twin architecture.

A suitable IT/OT Industrial domain is to be developed for the exchange of information and data within the Digital Twin architecture. The information and data from the data layer will be made available to the developed models with the help of the IT infrastructure. Similarly, the physical and virtual entities within the IT/OT Industrial domain will be linked together using appropriate communication protocols and interfaces.

The last section of the project focuses on the feedback of signals from the virtual space (of the models) into the real process. A suitable control concept is to be set up to exploit the greatest possible potential of the Digital Twin architecture. This will provide the basis for intelligent monitoring, diagnosis, prediction and control of the process by the Digital Twin and thus the possibility of improvement in areas such as material use, product quality and energy costs.

  1. Frenzel, P. (2023, May 11). Experimental analysis of the residence time distribution in a single screw rubber extruder using a digital image processing method [Conference Presentation]. IRC RubberCon 2023, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the).