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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2023 Current thinking says legacy simulation of manufacturing is obsolete and the use of oper- ational manufacturing digital twins is too expensive. e technology that replaces these approaches, however, is somewhat exciting. I still like watching simulated production graphics, where we see cartoon-like images of predicted production operations taking place on a projected timeline in order to dis- cover limitations and bottlenecks. For each of these to work, you must expect exceptions and assumptions, depending on the depth of the simulation: What about coughs, effects of mis- takes, badly timed bathroom breaks, machine Manufacturing Digital Twin: Spanners in the Works breakdown or human error, and changes in the product or in the customer order? In the manufacturing world, we all know that unexpected changes are unwelcome, yet we endlessly strive to control them. e new normal of frequent product revision updates and more personalized production renders the optimization of continuous flow obsolete. e original application of Six Sigma optimization and value-stream mapping always came with a sting in the tail. A machine, line, or even fac- tory—by those reckless enough to attempt it— could be simulated and optimized to the nth degree, only to find that a change in customer Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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