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Saving development costs with digital twins: Motor sizing for a new filling machine

02 March 2020

Many engineering organisations face major challenges when designing and delivering new products. When design issues are discovered during physical prototyping, the time and money required to fix these issues can be a major investment. Modern tools are helping companies perform more of this prototyping in a virtual space, where design issues can be discovered and fixed before a physical prototype is required.

These virtual prototypes are also known as digital twins, and what follows is a story of how digital twins can help lower development costs for machine design.

For over 40 years, Stoppil Industrie has been creating machinery for managing liquids during manufacturing. Stoppil was initially founded as a small company that produced water flow meters, and now produces an entire range of filling, dosing, and screwing machines to manage the packaging of liquids. These machines have been developed into a wide range of styles that serve both large and small companies across the chemical, food, cosmetic, and detergent industries.
Recently, Stoppil was developing a new screwdriver mechanism for one of its automatic screwing machines, the EB7000. The mechanism was driven by a brushless DC motor, which needed to handle a variety of loads during the screwing process, which would be screwing sprayers, pumps, and plugs onto containers. Due to the new mechanism design, there would be a large amount of mass displaced at one point in the machine’s duty cycle, which results in a large amount of load placed on the motor. This design requirement was new for Stoppil, so it needed to ensure a proper motor selection to avoid machine failures. 

Engineers at Stoppil would typically choose their motors based on their past experiences and recommendations from their suppliers. In this situation, Stoppil was concerned that the selected motor size was incorrect, but it didn’t have the internal processes to validate the motor performance before a prototype. To save on the costs and time required to build a prototype for motor testing, it contacted Maplesoft to commission a digital twin of the new design. A physics-based digital twin would allow the company to accurately simulate the machine dynamics before physical testing, ensuring the selection of a proper motor.

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA.

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