The University of Technology Sydney has put together a digital twin for a microbrewery.
Set up in the university’s Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Data Science test-bed, the “nano-brewery” has a physical twin in TU Dortmund University in Germany, with a Nokia private 5G network connecting the two facilities.
Production data collected at each step of the brewing process, both at UTS and TU Dortmund, feeds a cloud-based digital twin that provides process optimisation.
The private network forms part of the Nokia 5G Futures Lab, established at UTS last November to support the university’s Industry 4.0 projects.
It uses the company’s FastMile 5G gateways, connected to AirScale Indoor Radio small cells.
Other Industry 4.0 work the network supports include the UTS/Nokia “5G connected Cobots” project.
“Our goal is to promote Industry 4.0 principles to local industry by offering a testbed that gives partners the keys to improve their own manufacturing processes and gain business intelligence,” said Professor Jochen Deuse, Director of Centre for Advanced Manufacturing at UTS.
“Our international collaboration with TU Dortmund and Nokia allows us to globalize the outcomes of our testbed.”
Update: UTS senior lecturer Nick Bennett explained to iTnews that the digital twin can respond to issues when a human brewer cannot.
“The entire brewing process, including fermentation, can take many weeks. A digital twin can monitor the entire process, even overnight, when most human brewers would be in bed”, Bennett said.
“But the system can do more than just monitor – if a fault is detected, this cyber physical system can be trained to adapt process conditions to fix the problem without human intervention.”
The twin is based on a suite of sensors monitoring the different processes in brewing.
“During the first steps of brewing (mashing, lautering, wort boiling, and whirlpool) it is critical that data is gathered in real time and reliably,” he said.
“This is why 5G connectivity – that is dependable and has low latency – offers an advantage over other options.”