Digital Twin for Successful Product Startups

by | Jul 13, 2020 | Capital Projects, Food & Beverage

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Food & beverage manufacturers must be nimble in project execution to take advantage of frequent changes in market demands.

A rapidly advancing technology to aid in successful project execution is Digital Twin. The Digital Twin is a representation of the physical plant assets (i.e. process equipment, instrumentation and controls) and the processes that take place within them (i.e. chemical reactions, separation processes, heat transfer).

For the project execution phase of the production lifecycle, A Digital Twin help during these phases:

  • Pre-FEED—the strategy for the Digital Twin is defined and the functional requirements are developed.
  • FEED—the dynamic simulation is used to review process design and control philosophy and to identify control and operational issues early in plant design.
  • Automation System Design / Implement / Test—during control system engineering, the dynamic simulation is integrated to the control system simulator. This begins the use of the integrated Digital Twin. The Digital Twin is used to test control system configuration and graphics. Control design can be evaluated early in the project when rework and changes will have the least project impact.
  • Factory Acceptance Testing—including system integrity and operational tests are done with the Digital Twin. Operating procedures are tested and refined. Problems and issues that could delay unit startup or disrupt production are caught before they impact the project. Loops are initially tuned to support smooth startups.
  • Operator Training—begins early, at the completion or concurrent with FAT. Operators begin developing competency well before the startup of the plant or the commissioning of the process automation system using the Digital Twin. Structured training and open exploration of process dynamics and control system performance are both valuable in preparing the operator for actual plant operations.

Digital Twin for Capital Projects

By first testing and making process improvements using the digital twin, engineers can take advantage of an accurate model of the process dynamics that can be thoroughly tested before construction begins. New operating procedures can then be verified before implementation, reducing labor and startup times.

This greatly minimizes risks by preventing disruption of actual plant operations and high expenditure on physical resources. Moreover, by reducing online testing and qualification, food and beverage producers get to move their new products to the market faster.

Through simulation, training can begin before, during or after the new process development. The digital twin enables operators to gain competency on all levels including process operations, startups, shutdowns and even on hazardous or infrequent events without ever risking production.

Read the whitepaper Emerson Digital Twin: A Key Technology for Digital Transformation for more on how your odds of success with your capital project execution can be improved with Digital Twin technology. Food & Beverage industry professionals can visit the Food and Beverage section on Emerson.com for more on technologies and solutions to improve business performance across the lifecycle of your manufacturing operations.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.