13 Digital Twin Solutions at IMTS 2022

When the history of IMTS 2022 is written, it will be recorded as the show where exhibitors showcased digital twin technologies in a manner that appealed to small- and medium-sized businesses. Instead of talking about an enterprise-wide digital thread, exhibitors will show job shops how to put more parts in the bin through faster cycle times, better quality, and increased yields.

INDEX's Virtual Machine is used by manufacturers to train new operators, optimize parts programs, reduce changeover times, and avoid the risk of collisions.

The INDEX Virtual Machine was designed as an exact one-to-one model of the machine you own, and it runs simulations using the actual G code that will run on your CNC, says Mike Huggett, director of sales for INDEX (IMTS booth: 339119). By using Virtual Machine, users can reduce changeover time, check tool offsets, and clearances to detect collisions, optimize part programs, and train operators without disrupting production.

Digital twin technology makes it easier to implement 5-axis CNCs and other more advanced machines on the shop floor, says Chuck Matthews, product manager of Production Software, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence [Hexagon acquired ESPRIT (IMTS booth: 133210) last year]. Digital twins help companies obtain the full productivity benefits of their advanced machine in weeks instead of months.

Okuma (IMTS booth: 338500) offers its 3D Virtual Monitor software to design, simulate, and test the entire machining process before cutting actually starts.

A digital twin can also capture real-time machine data and optimize performance by applying AI and data analytics, functions which are available from the Okuma control and our OSP suite of applications, says Jim Kosmala, vice president of engineering and technology at Okuma.

DELMIA Robot Programming from Dassault enables shops to optimize robot cycle time in a virtual environment.

Dassault Systemes (IMTS booth: 121657) will feature its 3DEXPERIENCE Portfolio and collaborate with Doosan Machine Tools (IMTS booth: 338900) for live digital twin demonstrations. While best known among job shops for its SOLIDWORKS design software (SolidCAM IMTS booth: 134502), Dassault's DELMIA software offers the capability to create digital twins of shop floor machines, robots, and factory flow.

Automation will be one of the hottest trends at IMTS 2022, and DELMIA can help optimize every step of the process, says Mike Buchli, director partner enablement, Dassault. He cites working with a 70-person company to optimize productivity of a multi-machine cell. After using LIDAR to create a virtual replication of the facility, they ran virtual cycle time studies and generated the production data necessary to justify a second robot and its location.

We can also optimize robotic path planning. If a person can learn to use a pendant, they can learn DELMIA Robot Programming, says Buchli.

Rob Walker, manager of technical marketing for manufacturing at Autodesk (IMTS booth: 133310), says, Data is at the heart of it all. If shops want to run CNCs overnight, on-machine probing can be used to provide live feedback data on part quality and make real-time decisions in the NC program, like part alignment or adjusting tool offsets to increase operational efficiency. Capturing the knowledge of experienced professionals as data is vital too. This data can then be used to narrow the skills gap and drive automation.

Autodesk will provide virtual twin demonstrations with Haas (IMTS booth: 338100), Hurco (IMTS booth: 338319), Mazak (IMTS booth: 338300), and Matsuura (IMTS booth: 338630) to showcase its machine tool library, where digital twins of machine tool models are hosted in the cloud and made available to all Fusion 360 users.

FANUC (IMTS booth: 338919) plans to introduce a digital twin for its milling equipment at IMTS 2022. The company unveiled its first digital twin in 2020, collaborating with Toyoda (IMTS booth: 338700) to use the actual machine's solid models and kinematics to produce the visual twin, partnering with ModuleWorks (IMTS booth: 133313) to create the graphics and Mastercam (IMTS booth: 133222) to provide the CAM software. Siemens (IMTS booth 133346) and HEIDENHAIN (IMTS booth: 135716) will also showcase digital manufacturing solutions.

Autodesk has collaborated with Matsuura (shown here), Haas, Mazak, Hurco, and others to create digital twins of their CNCs.

Job shops and small businesses should use IMTS 2022 to familiarize themselves with digital twin technology and connected systems to leverage data or they risk getting left behind, says Okuma's Kosmala. Digital technology will help them win more business in the future, especially as large manufacturers begin to require it to meet traceability and reproducibility requirements.

Digital twin technology will be prevalent throughout the entire show. Register now and book your hotel room for IMTS 2022, which runs from September 12-17 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

Find More at IMTS