Cobots and humans in modern manufacturing

Embracing the Future: Robotics and the Digital Twin Approach

26.06.20235 min read

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, the robotics industry is undergoing a significant transformation and Mitsubishi Electric is focused on continuing to lead in this space. We are building new technology and solutions to enable our customers to develop and grow their own businesses.

Understanding the Digital Twin Approach:

A digital twin is a virtual replica or simulation of a physical object or system. It is a comprehensive digital representation that mimics the behaviour, characteristics, and interactions of its real-world counterpart. In the context of robotics, the digital twin approach involves creating a virtual representation of a robot, encompassing its design, functionality, and operational capabilities.

Benefits of the Digital Twin Approach in Robotics:

1. Design and Development: Digital twins enable designers and engineers to visualize, simulate, program and test robots in a virtual environment before physical prototypes are built. This reduces the time and cost associated with the design iteration process, allowing for more efficient development cycles. We offer this benefit through our simulation packages, RT Toolbox 3 and MELFAWorks which allows system designers to program and simulate robots within the SolidWorks 3D design package.

2. Optimization and Performance Enhancement: By analysing data from the physical robot and its digital twin in real-time, developers can identify areas for improvement and optimize performance. This iterative process helps enhance the efficiency, reliability, and safety of robotic systems and the machine within which they are installed.

3. Predictive Maintenance and Fault Detection: Digital twins facilitate the monitoring of real-time data from robots, enabling the early detection of anomalies and potential failures. By leveraging machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, maintenance activities can be scheduled proactively, reducing downtime and improving overall system reliability. This is encompassed in our MELFA Smart Plus robotic maintenance option.

4. Training and Simulation: Digital twins provide a virtual training ground for operators, enabling them to gain proficiency and experience in a safe and controlled environment. Simulations can replicate complex scenarios, allowing operators to refine their skills and prepare for challenging real-world situations.

Trends in Implementing the Digital Twin Approach:

1. Connectivity and Internet of Things (IoT): As the IoT ecosystem expands, robots are becoming increasingly connected, generating vast amounts of data. The integration of IoT technologies with digital twin systems enables seamless data flow between the physical robot and its digital counterpart, enriching the accuracy and fidelity of the virtual model, which is possible with our Iconics visualisation package.

2. AI and Machine Learning Integration:
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) play a vital role in the digital twin approach. ML algorithms can analyse the data collected from robots, identifying patterns, optimizing performance, and predicting potential issues. The integration of AI and ML enhances the capabilities and intelligence of digital twin systems. We have gone a step further to the norms of edge and cloud analytics with onboard device analytics such as predictive maintenance analytics performed within the robot controller itself. This allows for quicker, “off the shelf”, analytical capability tailored specifically to individual robot types giving much deeper insights and application.

3. Collaboration and Multi-Robot Systems:
Digital twin technology facilitates collaboration between robots by allowing them to exchange data and coordinate their actions. This enables the development of multi-robot systems that can work together seamlessly, increasing productivity and enabling complex tasks to be accomplished more efficiently.

4. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Integration:
AR and VR technologies are being combined with digital twins to create immersive and interactive experiences. Users can visualize and interact with the digital representation of robots in real-time, enhancing the design process, training, and maintenance activities.

Mitsubishi Electric Robotic Solutions:

We offer a range of cutting-edge robotics solutions that align with the digital twin approach. Our innovative range includes industrial robots, collaborative robots (cobots) and custom robotics that can seamlessly support digital twin systems. These offerings enable our customers to leverage the benefits of the digital twin approach, enhancing productivity, efficiency, and system performance in various applications maximising the advantages that AI in robotics has to offer. These solutions will also be developed into the future through the focus Mitsubishi Electric has developed with MAISART.


Cobots and humans in modern manufacturing