Making the transition from a traditional industrial shop floor with ageing machinery to investing in new digital production solutions is a significant challenge for many businesses, and can be hard to grasp due to the endless possibilities offered by today’s technology. So what should a business focus on, and which skills need to be developed in order move forwards? Virtual commissioning is a working method that many people know about and has great potential, but has not yet made a real breakthrough.
Virtual commissioning is used to test and validate a production stage (large or small) in a virtual environment before ordering and commissioning the physical equipment. Testing, troubleshooting and modifications have traditionally been dealt with during physical commissioning, which risks being extremely costly.
Streamlining the entire production process
Virtual change management enables investment and production processes to become more efficient. Virtual commissioning is ideal for use in the case of both new investments and operational machinery:
- For new investments, virtual commissioning helps businesses to design, install and test the new investment virtually, and to achieve optimal performance before physical commissioning takes place.
- Once machinery is operational, virtual commissioning can be used to test new, more efficient solutions virtually, thus avoiding machinery downtime during the testing phase. Instead, there will only be one stoppage, to implement the new, already tested, solution.
- Virtual commissioning can also be used to carry out acceptance testing or operator training.
More people need to learn virtual commissioning
Despite the potential, few employees at our production facilities are currently familiar with the process. Everyday life and reality are prioritised, leading to the risk of being overtaken. More people need to be trained in virtual commissioning and how the various associated software that is currently available works, and to learn how to develop fully functioning virtual models, in order for businesses to make the transition. WISER will offer several courses at different levels during the period 2022–2025 to help businesses get started.
The art of achieving optimised production
In order to maintain Swedish competitiveness, a rapid transition to digital technologies and processes – including virtual commissioning – is currently underway within industry. By allowing virtual models to mirror reality, most things can be prepared and predicted, allowing for fully optimised production that saves both time and money.