Experiment 5 – Digital Brain for Laser-Cutting and Forming of Aluminium

This experiment aims to create the Digital Product Brain of lines processing aluminum sheet metal.


The experiment targets the development and implementation of a Digital Brain solution for one of GIGANT’s manufacturing systems, intended for laser-cutting and forming of aluminum products. This manufacturing line (laser machines, hydraulic presses, conveyors, handling systems and robots) is a complex, automated manufacturing system where different technologies, different vendors and different control systems co-exist and cooperate.
The current limitations related to the actual GIGANT production line, that reflect the current status of most European manufacturing SMEs, are:

  • The inability to perform real-time “what-if” analysis based on the actual plant data, that strongly impairs the ability to promptly tackle production needs and constraints.
  • The inability to use the digital twin in the bidding/negotiation phase, that hampers the possibility to demonstrate all plant configurations, leading to under-exploited machine customization potential.
  • The inability to provide simulation services and analytics empowered by the knowledge developed all along the plant’s life-cycle reduces plant productivity and efficiency, reducing customer satisfaction.


GIGANT Manufacturing System


The implemented solution aims to simplify the workflow for the design of a new plant allowing to developing a tool able to integrate design and simulation of a new layout. The layouts will be composed using reusable modules with a simple drag and drop interface, generating a 3D model of the new plant integrating discret event simulation engine used to estimate productive performances. The simulation model will be in a second phase, interfaced with the real plant through CPSizer technology developed by NXT control. The tool will read configuration parameters from the real plant and will be used to optimize production scheduling with an increased level of credibility.
At the end of the experiment the end user will have a functioning tool to design new production layouts for the fabrication of goods starting from aluminum sheets.
The product will allow to export the simulation model of the designed plant and deploy it into the DigitBrain platform to be connected with the real plant through FIWARE to read parameters from an existing facility in Verona.
Simulation will be executed on the cloud platform to optimize the production scheduling of the existing plant and increase production performances.


Currently the process of designing a new layout requires approximately 14 days and the cooperation of different professional figures from different vendors.
The tool developed in the experiment will reduce the time to design a new layout to 1 day and the process will require only a single person. Moreover the productivity of the plant will be estimated with a greater level of accuracy, also thanks to the refinements of the simulation models derived from data acquired on the field from past deployed plants.
When the plant is installed in the facility, the same simulation model will be interfaced to the real plant and will be used to improve production planning


  • GIGANT, is a manufacturing SME that offers complete and integrated solutions for sheet metal processing.
  • Technology transfer system, is a software developer for industrial applications, featuring complete and personalized solutions in its portfolio for the virtualization of the factory.
  • NXT control, is a company which offers solutions to master the complexity of modern automation mainly exploiting the IEC 61499 control technology.
  • START4.0 is the Digital Innovation Hub with the role of experiment supervisor.


Who else is in the project?

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