Digital twin cuts battery production time in half

May 31, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
Rosendahl Nextrom uses digital twin tech Siemens in production.
Rosendahl Nextrom in Germany is using a digital twin to halve the time to establish a battery production line.

A digital twin is a simulation of processes and systems in a virtual environment. This has enabled Rosendahl to reduce its time-to-market from 24 months to just 12 months. For an enveloping machine, cycle times were successfully increased from 140 to 160 plates per minute and by adding digital control, the machine efficiency was increased to 95 per cent. 

The lithium-ion battery line is not a usual interlinked system but is a collection of individual manufacturing cells that are automated separately. This means that the production capacity of the machine can be increased or decreased flexibly, which is ideal for changing market requirements. Digitalization also speeds up the actual development process.

"Through simulation, we were able to skip entire steps in the development and manufacturing process, enabling us to reach our goal much faster," said Siegfried Altmann, CEO of Rosendahl. "We were able to produce a completely new product generation within twelve months, when previously this has taken one-and-a-half to two years."

A key factor in this is the use of the NX interactive Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) system and the Mechatronics Concept Designer (MCD) from Siemens PLM Software. For cable manufacturing, Rosendahl Nextrom also uses the TIA Portal engineering framework and the Simatic automation portfolio. A Simatic S7-PLCSim Advanced controller is also used as the simulation for virtual commissioning in the test phase.

Using the CAD model of the battery machine created in NX, Rosendahl Nextrom engineers can simulate all possible processes.

With the MCD, new processes can first be simulated and put through their paces. "In the past, we had to construct the machine first if we wanted to integrate new processes," said Altmann. "During commissioning, we had to check whether the machine was working as planned. Usually there was another loop of four to six weeks in order to incorporate improvements. This time is no longer needed."

Using a digital twin also allows customers to visit the plant in the virtual environment before


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