Digital twins and artificial intelligence optimize tool construction by saving production material, energy and time. In addition, they also contribute to closing material circulation.
Veka AG of North Rhine-Westphalia produces PVC profiles for roller blinds and sliding doors. Constructing and assembling tool molds is a painstaking, resource-intensive process. The solution? Digital twins. During tool head assembly, digital twins cut resource expenditure in half when starting up a new production, saving a goodly 1,000 kWh of electricity per year – or 408 kg CO2.
IANUS Simulation GmbH, Dortmund specializes in simulating production procedures with digital twins. Using CAD data, tool heads are copied digitally, simulating material flow. This digital groundwork reduces the need for test runs during actual production.
BBM Maschinenbau und Vertriebs GmbH makes use of both digital twins and artificial intelligence. The company develops extrusion blow molding for plastic hollow bodies, aiming for the highest possible percentage of recycled plastics, i.e. for barrels. The coil distributor – the tool that merges recycled and new plastics – must react precisely to the variations in plastic flake quality.
This is where artificial intelligence comes in. Drawing from a digital twin, IANUS Simulation GmbH generates a large selection of tool head variations with a variety of coil distributor parameters. Artificial intelligence now simulates the production process again and again, selecting the best 30 % of tool heads each round, testing their compatibility and re-adjusting them. This process is repeated until approximately ten generations of optimal coil distributors are generated. This concept allows an up to 85 % increase of recyclate in plastic barrels. Thus, AI contributes to increasing plastic recycling and closing material circulation.
The sub-project of BBM Maschinenbau und Vertriebs GmbH is funded by the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MULNV).