May 30, 2023
The transition towards a Circular Economy is estimated to represent a $4.5 trillion global growth opportunity by 2030. Digital Twins availability is largely recognized as an accelerator and an enabler of Circular Economy in business and in production, but significant challenges are still standing in relation to its development within the present technological framework, the needed skill sets, and the implementation costs.
AUTO-TWIN addresses the technological shortcoming and economic liability of the current system engineering model by:
1) introducing a breakthrough method for automated process-aware discovery towards autonomous Digital
Twins generation, to support trustworthy business processes in circular economies;
2) adopting an (International Data Space) IDSbased common data space, to promote and facilitate the secure and seamless exchange of manufacturing/product/business data within value-networks in a circular-economy ecosystem;
3) integrating novel hardware technologies into the digital thread, to create smart Green Gateways, empowering companies to perform data and digital twin enabled green decisions, and to unleash their full potential for actual zero-waste Circular Economy and reduced dependency from raw materials.
The Auto-Twin project
AUTO-TWIN vision is addressing four specific objectives, each one solving a well-defined research challenge,
resulting in measurable exploitable results, used as clear and realistic indicators for the achievement of the project goals. These objectives, and their underlying research questions, will guide all the activities of the work plan of this Research and Innovation action. AUTO-TWIN concept is agnostic and domain independent.
OBJECTIVE 1 – Automated digital twin generation, operations, and maintenance in circular value chains.
AUTO-TWIN will develop a novel data-driven method based on a process mining approach for generation and adaptation of multi-fidelity resolution digital twins from data acquired, at multiple levels, along the value chain. Full automation, trustworthiness, and “skill-free” play are key-selling points of the project approach, based on sparse traces of manufactured objects flowing in the value chain. The project will rely on multiple automated actors to discover the flows in the value chain and to automatically generate and update digital twins of complex business processes, starting from the specific manufacturing processes till the whole supply chain.
OBJECTIVE 2 – Trustworthy high resolution track & trace of products and processes among different actors in circular value chains
The consistency of data and information sharing among stakeholders across the value network are fundamental for the validity of digital twins. AUTO-TWIN aims to: i) enable high resolution track&tracing through precise and detailed data and information about products and processes; ii) manage data and access rights in a seamless, secure, powerful and flexible way; iii) manage data sharing and sovereignty within circular data spaces. AUTO-TWIN will define, implement and test its systems and solutions in real business environments in very different sectors to define business guidelines and best practices and share them with the community.
OBJECTIVE 3 – Reduce skills and knowledge gaps for all involved actors through augmented intelligence.
In order to perform significant progress in the state-of-art, the design of a new approach for assessing skills and mapping production processes is a mandatory requirement. It should be reliable, complete and built on standardized frameworks. The AUTO-TWIN project answers to this requirement developing: (i) Explainability for Artificial Intelligence (XAI) techniques able to decrease the required skills; (ii) tools to assess the current skills of the single worker in a specific production context and (iii) to identify (through a data-driven approach) the most efficient upskilling paths for operators as well as their related production processes.
OBJECTIVE 4 – Augmented intelligence algorithms for decision making at Green Gateways.
AUTO-TWIN will define new methods and algorithms to extend knowledge and support actors in decision-making at Green Gateways. Artificial Intelligence techniques and process mining algorithms will be developed to extract significant correlations, then transformed into explainable knowledge, underlying the product data along their life cycles and their manufacturing and logistic processes as well as the dependency of the demand on pricing and product characteristics. This knowledge, together with digital twin predictions on relevant multidimensional indicators (i.e., circularity indices, productivity indices, supply chain indices) will be used with augmented knowledge and real time production data for optimal coordination of the value chain under stochastic behavior
Technology Transfer Systems Srl
The AUTO-TWIN Consortium is composed by 13 partners and associated entities across 7 countries.
Technology Transfer Systems Srl (TTS) was founded in 1993. The company business complements traditional industrial research activities in the area of simulation and knowledge management with the development of proprietary and customized simulation solutions. TTS expertise lies with the development of digital representations, that can be linked and continuously updated with data coming from the real world exploiting the CPS paradigm: this technology is used for setting up new plants, testing PLC logics and as a monitoring system for production plant behaviour.
In TTS a strong attention is continuously given to internal research and innovation activities, also within international outstanding research projects together with major European and worldwide research and innovation leading actors.Consistently with its Mission, TTS is constantly engaged in enabling the transfer of technologies and innovation from the research to the manufacturing areas through the creation of permanent partnerships and networks involving innovation suppliers and users (universities, research centers, SMEs and public/private financing institutions).
TTS skills are twofold: on the technology-driven side we own and offer 3D animations and simulations, discrete event simulation and virtual reality, while on the business-driven side knowledge management systems, innovation management procedures, business development, quality and environmental assurance systems are the core competences, together with the technical and research management of national and international projects.
The role of TTS in the Auto-Twin project
TTS is a company dedicated to the development of proprietary and customized IT solutions and technology transfer actions in the manufacturing sector. TTS will support AUTO-TWIN project by leading a successful requirements analysis and providing guidelines for the industrial uptake of AUTO-TWIN solutions. In particular, TTS will lead the examination of the industrial needs and requirements, and the functional architecture specification. The long expertise of TTS with discrete event simulation models will be exploited to develop the necessary functional modules for automatically executing and validating simulations. TTS will carefully follow the Twin continuous integration, and will also lead the monitoring of the projects’ tasks and assess the progress level against approved plans and milestones.
This project has received funding from the Horizon Europe programme under the Grant Agreement No. 101092021
This article has been extracted and freely adapted from the Auto-Twin official website and Proposal.