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But what else are the designers busy doing? Artificial intelligence (AI) is supposed to simplify their work, but the big challenge remains to integrate successfully trained models into the machines and plants. AI plug and play is not yet a reality. The digital twin is intended to reduce employees' workload. For years, the industry has been discussing the opportunities. But there was not much to be seen. Lenze wants to change that. Patrick Bruder explains: "We want to move away from just visualizing a product. A digital twin is the complete digital representation of a machine or plant in all its aspects. The digital twin is not necessarily a specific file or a specific model, but a bracket around all versioned and referenced data of a product." Consequently, all tools in the product lifecycle can work on a common data master, which is successively supplemented with further information.

In this way, the digital twin accompanies a product throughout its entire lifecycle. It grows with you and also fits in. "You can think of it like a matryoshka doll. The twin of the sensor, the twin of the drive, the twin of the inverter are all part of the twin of the machine and this is part of the twin of the production line and this is part of the twin of the factory. All twins are described, bringing their data and information with them." And the user accesses standardized data and information and can then, for example, run the real data against plan data, detect errors and perform optimizations – purely virtually at first, without the risk of downtime. "We can then even add software modules to the digital twin, or trained models."

Saving energy starts as early as the design

Another important issue: Saving energy starts at the design stage, and alternative materials are also in demand, because supply chains have become more unstable, and less material also means less energy consumption. In the meantime, companies are being supported in their design by AI algorithms, for example in additive manufacturing. Keyword online topology optimizer. Protiq has launched an intelligent tool that enables customers to engineer completely innovative lightweight designs. Customers place their data sets on our platform, mark design areas and non-design areas, then define the forces that can act on the design. The intelligent algorithms behind it then reduce material requirements within 24 hours.

And additive manufacturing craves automation. Robotics and automation technology are ready and waiting at HANNOVER MESSE.