Interactive Digital Twin of a cleanroom robot

The essence

Together with our partners Orange, Stäubli and Cilyx, we created a fully interactive virtual representation of Stäubli’s industrial robot, the TX2-60L. This Digital Twin lives in the MS Azure cloud; but can be visualized using a Microsoft HoloLens or desktop app. It is synced in realtime with the actual robot. Its movements, operational state, IoT data, etc… can be assessed in detail, both for the current time as well as historically. And since the synchronization works bidirectional, the Digital Twin even allows controlling the real robot! All this allows for finegrained insights and the possibility to resolve occasional disruptions, without the need for physical presence in the cleanroom.

Update: We have expanded this project to France, implementing the same application for Orange France..

Front view of the robot setup in La Grand Poste in Luik, Belgium, along with the digital twin.

The Solution

We created a Digital Twin of a cleanroom robot (in this case the TX2-60L) to be used in combination with the Microsoft HoloLens 2 or desktop app. This ‘virtual sibling’ represents a fully interactive 3D visualization of the TX2-60L and has the following properties:

  1. It allows assessing the current (and historical) status of the robot arm, including temperatures, operating mode, safety status, errors, info or warning messages, and more – so problems can be diagnosed remotely.
  2. It represents the real-world physical movements of the robot in real time – so remote technicians can follow exactly what the robot is doing.
  3. It allows controlling the robot to a certain extend – so remote technicians can ensure safety (lower movement velocity, lock movement, reboot the robot controller, etc…) and fix an occasional disrupt.
  4. It helps facilitating real-time support ‘over the air’ without requiring the robot to be reachable over the public internet. – Many industries, such as pharma or biotech, have tight security requirements in place and prefer not to open their network any further than necessary. Our solution leverages a private ‘express route’ to link the actual robot to its Digital Twin, living in Microsoft Azure. Security first!

  5. Creating the possibility to access all this information remotely can save manufacturing plants tons of time and money. It eliminates the need for physical presence in the cleanroom, which means no unnecessary disinfection of the room and the person entering the room is needed.
But even regardless of the cleanroom environment, we strongly see added value for these types of Digital Twins. They allow operation managers and technicians to monitor entire production lines from a distance.