What is it?

This is an exciting collaborative project utilising cutting edge simulation software to develop a digital twin of a whisky cask filling rig for industrial production to maximise cask utilisation and production volume.

The focus is three-fold:

  • 1.

    Development of a Digital Twin to allow a new filling head to be built and commissioned in a virtual environment.

  • 2. Building the new mechanical filling solution in the real world and deploying it in a production environment.

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  • 3. Linking the physical and virtual to optimise the solution through machine learning methodology.

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What are the project drivers?

The market-leading end-user partner involved in the project has a specific challenge with current out-dated technologies which only fill casks to 95% of their total volume. 5% of a cask, when it is extrapolated over the volumes of whisky that this company produces, soon adds up.

The savings could either be achieved through maximising the amount of whisky filled into casks and ultimately sold or saving the business the inventory space during its future expansion. This works out as the equivalent of an entire warehouse.

Other, wider, project drivers include using digital technology to overcome traditional manufacturing problems and boost efficiency.

How is it funded?

Digital Twin is funded by Innovate UK.

Who is involved?

This is a collaborative project being led by Kigtek and including Diageo, AFRC, Siemens.

What are the project outputs?

The project is expected to run until Autumn 2019.

We’re aiming to tackle the production challenge through an Industrial Internet of Things system that optimises time standards and controls, thereby ensuring that casks are filled to 100% of their capacity.

When it’s implemented, the twin should help the company understand how the filling head transfers whisky into the cask, how it’s performing and when there are any issues, generating alerts on the associated virtual reality (VR) headset or tablet.

A user will be able to keep an eye on all the casks on multiple lines simultaneously. This is typically a demanding manual process.

After the first phase, this system will go further. Everything will be built on a one-to-one scale on the VR headset and get to the point of delivering ‘on-the-fly simulations’ – in other words, being able to change variables and, then, ultimately the production throughputs remotely.

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