The research results obtained at the VAL are incorporated into its own software solutions so that users can re-use the results and also to provide them with low-threshold access to AR/VR technologies in the context of virtual commissioning. The software platform developed can be used to model machines and facilities in Web browsers and to visualise them on any Mixed Reality (MR) terminal devices such as AR/VR glasses, tablets and smartphones, regardless of the terminal device. Following the example of the 'Everything as a Service' paradigm of the public cloud, a concept was developed to provide the Digital Twins on a 'Digital Twin as a Service’ platform (DTaaS platform) on a machine-oriented edge cloud. New research results are incorporated into the software and can thus be accessed and implemented rapidly. On request, we are happy to make our software available as test environments to companies who are interested. We look forward to hearing from you!
Digital Twin as a Service Plattform
The Digital Twin as a Service Platform (DTaaSP) allows Digital Twins to be made available within a network or across networks. The platform enables the Digital Twins to be used for a great many industrial applications over the complete life cycle of machines and facilities. They include planning, development and virtual commissioning, and also the monitoring and analysis of production data and the training of machine operators.
The platform also comprises a VAL 3D-WebStudio which offers a simple way of producing complex Digital Twins and calculating the corresponding behaviour model and interaction model. VAL COM Middleware makes it easy to connect IIoT devices, thus enabling machine data to be integrated into the Digital Twin.
VAL HoloDesk is an interface application which allows the three-dimensional Digital Twins to be displayed on a variety of modern Mixed Reality visualisation terminal devices such as Augmented Reality glasses, Augmented Reality tablets and Virtual Reality glasses. By abstracting the interactions, it is possible to interact with the Digital Twin on any terminal device.
The DTaaSP can also provide a large number of basic functions such as the administration of users, groups and the corresponding rights. Furthermore, the integrated value-added services can be administered and started via a Web interface. The provision of database services to record machine data and the connection to commonly used cloud platforms (Azure, AWS, Google) are offered as services. Moreover, there are numerous other value-added services from the industrial and research context.
The DTaaSP is being successfully utilised in numerous industry transfer projects with enterprises of different sizes, and also in research and teaching. In September 2020, the platform and how it is being used in higher and further education teaching received the AVRiL 2020 Prize in Silver, which is awarded by the Stifterverband for successful VR/AR learning scenarios. Further information about the AVRiL: Homepage AVRiL
VAL COM Middleware
VAL COM Middleware allows IIoT devices (e.g. sensors, actuators, control systems, machines, facilities) to be networked via OPC UA and MQTT with Web services (e.g. VAL 3D-WebStudio, VAL HoloDesk) in an in-house network.
OPC UA and MQTT enabled devices (Assets) can be configured and connected directly to the VAL COM Middleware without the need to spend time on implementation. The Assets and their data can be selected via a Web frontend, displayed, and recorded in a database. A simple program interface affords access to Asset data in in-house Web services.
VAL 3D-WebStudio is a value-added service on the Digital Twin as a Service Platform which makes it possible to model Digital Twins in the Web browser.
The VAL HoloDesk value-added service of the Digital Twin as a Service Platform is an interface application for terminal devices such as tablets, smartphones or Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality glasses.
The HoloDesk provides the communication with the server and the instancing of the Digital Twin, and also the interaction abstraction of the corresponding terminal device. It furthermore provides the geometry, behaviour and interaction models of the server and thus means that no terminal device-specific programming knowledge is needed to model the Digital Twin. The method pool of the server level and the shared database enable the Mixed Reality scene to be generated automatically to transfer the Digital Twin modelled in the VAL 3D-WebStudio to any terminal devices at the push of a button. Any modifications, for example those resulting from new interaction elements, can be transferred directly to the terminal devices.
Moreover, the terminal devices can be coupled via the shared Digital Twin in the DTaaS platform. It is thus possible to combine the interactions of several terminal devices. For example, a pair of AR glasses can be used for visualisation while at the same time the input interaction is taking place via a tablet.