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Digital Twin takes predictive maintenance to the next level


Scania is developing a cutting-edge data integration tool for real-time vehicle performance assessment. The concept called Digital Twin is based on linked data, and it will take predictive maintenance to the next level.

These days, Scania collects an immense amount of data. And not only data from connected vehicles but also from its manufacturing operations. In fact, the information that Scania collects doubles in size every two years.

All of this information is invaluable when analysing performance and quality in designing even better vehicles, but it falls short when assessing performance in real time. Scania’s response to that problem is to adopt cutting-edge data integration technology.

How data integration technology works

The technology is not unlike that which we use every day when we are entering terms into internet search engines. Countless information is identified, correlated and linked in milliseconds before being presented to the user as results.

In this context, data concepts need to be named and defined, with their relationship to each other established. For example, brakes would consist of several data concepts that together constitute the term ‘brakes’. These concepts are collected in ‘knowledge graphs’, which are the realm of inter-related data concepts.

Stefan Telhammar, Integration Services, Scania IT, uses a simple metaphor to explain the idea further.

“It could be compared to a Formula 1 race,” he says. “The team has ample data on past performance but it needs to make qualified decisions during the race to determine the best times for pitstops.”

The data is mirrored as a digital twin

The data remains in its normal storage and is only mirrored as a digital twin. Thus, the information transmitted is always the latest available. For each question posed, new knowledge graphs are formed. The Digital Twin concept can be used to develop more sophisticated, long-term relations with customers; in other words, to extend business models.

“We know that the future lies in combining and integrating information, which will be essential for developing better transport and logistics ecosystems,” says Telhammar. “Our vehicles are already connected, and we need to achieve the same penetration in our manufacturing processes.”

Data integration gives real-time information

Two years ago, Scania IT started addressing the challenge of integrating data to obtain real-time information. “We started small and came up with this technology, which has the advantage of collecting data in one format,” says colleague Tanuja Gupta. “That’s really the beauty of it all.”

Trials are already being carried out and the first applications should be in place by 2021.

“These are early phases, but we’ve started monitoring a CNC cutting machine in production to determine wear and performance,” adds Gupta.

“And there’s lots more to come.”

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