Fraunhofer IOSB works with tools from different vendors which you can see in action at IOSB.
On the lowest level, there are real plant components or simulation systems which represent components in a virtual world. The components or systems are connected with control systems such as PLCs. They control the behavior of the plant and communicate signals and values to higher levels. Control devices can exist in a real or virtual way. It is important that even with virtual controllers the real communication is used.
Superior IT systems which are connected to the controllers are production monitoring and control systems. Their task is to monitor the production, trigger alarm events in case of errors and control the production process if necessary
These IT systems have to be engineered before their usage. This engineering results in manual effort and takes often place at the end of the plant planning process. Normally, the real plant exists already at that time. Errors during the engineering result in time-and-cost-intensive corrections. The error recognition and correction shall therefore be shifted into earlier planning phases when the correction is easier.
The goal of the Digital Factory is to evaluate plant components and production-related IT systems in a virtual world. Real PLC programs and the real process communication is used to represent the real behavior of the plant components in the virtual world.
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We provide also workshops for an introduction into virtual startup of production monitoring and control systems.