Following on from the development of a digital twin, Royal NLR is working with an aircraft manufacturer, a technical college and an equipment supplier in a project called Luxovius, in which a digital twin will be created for an innovative production process.
“Lots more sensors are needed in and around the machines for it,” says Baalbergen, “because you want to use as much data as possible to get a good digital twin. In the end, we want this project to give us a production process that’s as efficient and as ‘green’ as possible, consuming the least possible amount of energy and generating the minimum possible amount of waste.”
The operator’s role will not be superseded by these technological developments, he says.
“You’re not going to phase the operators out; instead, you’ll be deploying them for things they’re better at, with more scope for their own creativity. We’ve interviewed operators and explained the benefits of digital twin technology to them, and they’re enthusiastic about it too. You’re helping them to cut down on the boring administrative aspects of the job. So you’ve got to explain the potential of the new technology properly. At the same time, we want to make sure that digitising complex processes and systems doesn’t force people to adapt to the computer. Get that computer to adapt to the people! That lets you work much more efficiently. Digital twin technology simply makes it easier for the end user, so that operators can make better use of their own creativity.”