Virtual Production Line

University essay from Lunds universitet/Industriell Produktion

Abstract: This master thesis has been conducted at Alfa Laval in cooperation with the division of Production and Materials Engineering at Lund University. The objective has been to investigate virtual production with regards to its required resources, benefits and limitations of the technology. Work with production analysis, literature studies, creating a prototype, benchmarking led to our conclusion. Virtual production can bring new opportunities. Trough programming, verifying and validating PLC logic and other equipment in a digital environment before a new production cell is constructed and commissioned. The automation personnel get the opportunity to work in parallel with other disciplines, which could result in shorter commissioning time. This work method gives opportunities to reduce project time overall and could improve the quality of the production cell. A virtual prototype was created using the software RobotStudio and CoDeSys to verify and validate PLC code and Rapid code. The prototype is a virtual model over a welding cell that welds two corrugated plates together to form a cassette. Several cassettes combined with other components is assembled to a plate heat exchanger. The work conducted with the prototype shows that the required resources to start with virtual commissioning is high. The necessary knowledge by the user is high in several different fields combined with time consuming work. The technology is not yet fully matured to be able to do a full scale virtual commissioning project. The technology could instead be used for robot programming and partly for verifying and validating PLC code successfully. This master thesis could be viewed as the first step for implementing virtual commissioning at the company and therefore more research is needed, both from the university and from Alfa Laval.

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