Thanks to mill digital twins, the daily ERP of factories has been taken to a new level. As digital twins share a cloud platform, individual factories can be connected to the platform, making it possible to access new features on them.
A digital twin can mean a number of things. It can be a 3D model of a single detail or a copy of an entire machine, enabling virtually assisted reality or simulation to optimise performance.
“Mill digital twins operate on a cloud platform, which makes it possible to scale up new use cases to several factories on short notice,” says Process Genius Oy CEO Jani Akkila.
Process Genius and Stora Enso developed digital twins to improve daily ERP decision-making by presenting key information visually. Digital twins are used to get a clear understanding of the situation in a factory at any given time, and to determine what needs to happen next. They also indicate if any parts of the process are behind schedule. It is also important to understand why the current situation is what it is. Accurate and readily understandable information about the operations help raise decision-making to a new level.
“The easier it is to get the information, the better the decisions will be. If the decision-makers do not understand the content of the data they see, they cannot decide the most suitable actions,” says Marko Yli-Pietilä, Head of Smart Operations, Stora Enso.
“Previously we had to read through hundreds of rows of reporting data, but now it’s enough to take a quick look at the digital twin to get an idea what’s going at the factory,” says Tomi Pällo, safety manager at Stora Enso’s Lahti mill.
A mill digital twin can quickly point out any locations, such as those from which safety reports have been made. This is useful when people from outside the factory need information about the location of exits, for example. In addition to providing information about safety issues, a visual presentation is useful in many other contexts, such as maintenance management, including preventative maintenance and management of production line performance.
Digital twins were first tested in one factory. When it was established that they work, they were scaled up on several Stora Enso mill sites in Finland and abroad.
“These exceptional times have confirmed our vision that digital twins are indeed very useful in many sectors. We have been able to scale up the technology to a good level and we have also increased collaboration on the international market. We will continue to work on developing the product with existing and preferably also new partners,” says Sami Auvinen, director of professional services at Process Genius.