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The MIRAGED project will develop digital twins to further improve industry 4.0

Jun 11, 2020

Digital twins make it possible to better predict the behaviour of machines, equipment and manufacturing processes, optimising them and detecting problems before they occur.
The MIRAGED project will develop digital twins to further improve industry 4.0

The IKERLAN technology centre is leading the MIRAGED project for developing virtual models and digital twins to improve processes and products associated with industry 4.0. MIRAGED is part of the CERVERA programme, funded by the Industrial Technology Development Centre (CDTI), which is part of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. It is a project for the creation of a network of excellence, in which the centres Ceit, CTC, Ideko and Idonial are also taking part. The aim of the project is to improve the skills of the research groups involved in developing virtual models and digital twins applied to systems for modelling, simulating and predicting the behaviour of machines and manufacturing processes. The project has a total budget of € 3,336,915 and will be concluded in the year 2022. Also, the consortium of participants will obtain CERVERA's certification as Centres of Excellence in Virtual Models and Digital Twins.

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a system - such as an aeroplane turbine, a wind turbine or the structure of a machine - into which data is incorporated in real time and captured by sensors.  The combination of a model that represents the physical aspects of the system and the data that distinguishes the specific reality of the monitored system creates its "twin". This technology allows the analysis of valuable information related to parameters that are difficult to measure in a real system due to their complexity and high cost. Thanks to digital twins, it is possible to detect problems before they occur, so it is a very helpful methodology when planning maintenance tasks, avoiding unexpected stops, building new, more efficient operation scenarios, developing new manufacturing plans and/or making projections for the future. 

The MIRAGED project aims to strengthen the capabilities of participating technology centres in strategic technologies by working together to meet the challenges of an industry 4.0 environment. The IKERLAN representative for the Iker Urresti project explains that “the previous experience of digital twins in the participating centres, together with the greater degree of specialisation that this project will bring, will establish us as leaders in Spain in this area, and we also hope to improve our standing in Europe.” Urresti adds that It will also allow us to increase our ability to transfer technology to companies in the industrial sector, an essential objective of our technology centre and of the project.” Lastly, MIRAGED will provide funding to research and train new, highly specialised researchers in the areas related to the project.

MIRAGED areas of research

Within the work group, three technical activities have been defined. The first activity is directed towards the development of "virtual factories, developing models to simulate the behaviour of manufacturing processes, including hot forming, welding,  machining, grinding,  induction hardening and non-destructive testing. The technical progress of the second area of research will be aimed at predicting the onset of a service fault, models for predicting the spread of cracks and the remaining life of the system, and the development of dynamic behaviour models. The third activity will focus on integrating the models developed in the previous activities into the digital twins.

The technology centres will also work on the training of researchers, the dissemination of the results, and specific initiatives to promote the transfer of technology to the industrial sector.

MIRAGED developments

IKERLAN will develop new simulation methods for the induction hardening process and new models for the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks. It is expected that the latter will be integrated into digital twins of equipment to monitor them in service and estimate their remaining useful life.

Ceit will develop digital twins for hot forming processes and heat treatments that make it possible to predict the evolution of the material and to develop the final mechanical properties, the on-line monitoring of the process and the use of signals from sensors of a non-destructive nature.

The CTC Technology Centre will develop advanced numerical models and digital twins for structures and mechanical components. The research will concentrate on developing advanced numerical models for the prediction of the remaining lifetime, detailed modelling of degradation mechanisms and implementing advanced data analysis techniques applying artificial intelligence.

Within the framework of this initiative, IDEKO will develop new advanced models that interact with the manufacturing process, thanks to the implementation of the digital twins which can be applied in the plant in the company's areas of specialisation such as grinding, non-destructive testing, distortion control and machine and process dynamics and control.

IDONIAL will develop a digital twin of the Manzana del Acero, a pilot steel manufacturing plant, for analysing, monitoring, predicting and simulating possible scenarios. In addition, they will develop a digital model of the welding process to optimise the welding sequence and predict residual stresses and distortions.

MIRAGED is part of the Programme for the Accreditation and awarding of grants for "Cervera" Technology Centres of Excellence for the year 2019 (CER-20190001). Its main objectives are to foster leadership and collaboration in the industrial sector, to promote specialisation in the priority technologies of the Cervera Network and to improve the impact on the economy.

About IKERLAN 

IKERLAN, a member of BRTA, is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to the company due, among other things, to the specialisation of its researchers. It offers comprehensive solutions that combine different technological fields into three large areas: Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EICT), Energy and Power Electronics and Advanced Manufacturing. In 2017, IKERLAN obtained certification, via AENOR, for the integrated management system (UNE-EN ISO 9001:2015 and UNE 166002:2014), which recognises the excellence of the centre in the field of R&D&I. It currently has a workforce of around 350 people.

Ceit, a member of BRTA, is a multidisciplinary technology centre committed to improving the competitiveness of the business community through solutions based on scientific and technological excellence. In particular, the Materials and Manufacturing Division offers solutions to the new challenges facing Industry through an integrated approach based on the following areas of expertise: Thermomechanical Processing, Industrial Electronics and Power Systems, ICT Technologies, Non-Destructive Techniques (NDT) based on electromagnetic measurements for quality control and Data Analysis and Information Management. Ceit currently has a staff of around 240 people and its management system is in accordance with UNE 166002. 

The CTC Technology Centre was created in the year 2000 and is the only technological centre in Cantabria. It aims to add value and generate business for companies through industrial technology transfer projects based on Science and Technology. With a strong commitment to solving the technological challenges faced by companies and an in-depth knowledge of the industrial market, CTC carries out its R&D&I activities in the fields of Industry and Energy, Navigation and Robotics and Advanced Materials and Nanomaterials. 

Its specialisation in disciplines such as Experimental Sciences and Engineering makes it a leader in advanced numerical modelling of structural components and complex systems, mainly aimed at the Nuclear and Marine Renewable Energy sectors.

The Basque technology centre, IDEKO, member of the BRTA alliance, has a history of more than 30 years dedicated to research, development and innovation of new technologies applied to production and industrial manufacturing.

Founded to respond to the highly technological challenges of the MONDRAGON Corporation's machine tool companies, its R&D&I activity is aimed at offering innovative solutions that contribute to the competitiveness of the business community and is based on four research areas: Dynamics and Control, Production Processes, ICT and Automation and Precision Design and Engineering.

IDONIAL was created in 2019 following the merger of the ITMA and PRODINTEC centres, in a bid to take on new challenges and to provide integrated, tailor-made solutions related to the development of materials, advanced manufacturing and the digital industry. Its commitment to technological development and innovation is embodied in its more than 120 R&D&I projects each year and 7000 technological services carried out in a wide range of sectors (industry, health, aeronautics, car and defence, among others) All this would not be possible without the expert multidisciplinary team (more than 160 professionals, 37% with a doctorate) and the state-of-the-art equipment available in its technical offices, workshops and laboratories.

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