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With TIC4.0, the Digital Twin comes to life

Screenshot of CHESSCON Life View. Digital replica of a container terminal.

TwinSim is one of the first projects to use the new standard.

A digital twin of the terminal is currently being created at the EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg. The IHATEC- joint project TwinSim is pursuing the development of the digital twin for the visualization and simulation-based optimization of processes at the terminal. The visualization of real-time data of the terminal equipment, in particular the straddle carriers, as well as networking by means of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies, should make optimization potentials visible. We talk to Michael Kugler, Simulation & Terminals Consultant at AKQUINET, about the status of the project and the role of the new standard TIC4.0 the Terminal Industry Committee 4.0 (#wetalktic).


How far are you in the TwinSim project?


The first devices at the EUROGATE terminal, such as straddle carriers or also called van carriers, are already fully equipped with so-called edge devices and can send their data to the data lake. This is currently being set up together with the manufacturer ProDevelop. We have prepared our CHESSCON software, which will then be used to build the digital twin, to receive data. This is already possible in advance, even if we do not yet know exactly which devices will later supply which data. This is because we are working with the new TIC4.0 standard for data transmission. CHESSCON is therefore “TIC4.0 Ready” and the TwinSim project will be one of the first major implementations of the new standard.

Screenshot from CHESSCON Life View. Digital replica of a container terminal. Information from a straddle carrier: VC06, Location, Cycle, Tier, Event Pick Deck, Fuel Level, Type Pressure, Device Status, Operation hours, Engine.

Which devices can transmit which data via TIC4.0?


In principle, all information from all devices can be transmitted via TIC4.0. In the case of straddle carriers, for example, it is the position, whether the device is transporting a container, what the container number is, or what the speed and destination of the straddle carrier are. Optionally, tire pressure and tank level can also be transmitted. There are no limits to the standard here. The standard includes – besides the device data – also data from systems like the TOS. Data can or must also be made available from here so that the digital picture is complete.

Screenshot of CHESSCON Life View. Digital replica of a container terminal.

How exactly does the data flow in the TwinSim project take place?


The devices themselves send their information to the central data lake in the TIC4.0 standard, which is effectively the language in which the data is provided. Our CHESSCON uses the data from the Data Lake because CHESSCON “understands this language”. In addition, the Data Lake also receives data from the control system (TOS), where the data is “fused”. The digital twin is then created in CHESSCON from this data source. The special feature here is that gaps are also detected by matching the data sources. For example, a device has received a job order according to TOS, but is not yet in motion in real terms. CHESSCON recognizes this and can indicate this in the digital twin, for example by automatically color coding such data gaps. In this way, bottlenecks or errors can be easily identified.

Screenshot of CHESSCON Life View. Digital replica of a container terminal.

Can TwinSim also be used to look into the past?


Yes, there will be a replay function. It can be used, for example, to rewind a complete shift and look at it again. Perhaps there was an accident involving a straddle carrier during one of the shifts. The 3D visualization can be used to replay exactly what happened before and where, just like in a movie. Looking back is also important for optimizing processes. With TwinSim, we can compare exactly what we wanted to improve – via previous simulations – how it was realized and what we actually achieved in the terminal, beyond theoretical figures of increased efficiency.

Screenshot from CHESSCON Life View. Digital replica of a container terminal. Bird's eye view.

And what if a device’s data cannot be processed via TIC4.0 in the future?


The special thing about the standard is that it is “alive.” If new devices come onto the market or other types of data are to be transferred, TIC4.0 can map this within the regular, new releases. Many device manufacturers are already members of the Terminal Industry Committee 4.0, and new requirements can then be submitted by them to a committee. The next step is to form a task force that reviews the requirements and then adapts, extends or develops new definitions for standards. New releases are published approximately every three months.

Thank you very much for the interview, Michael!





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