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Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH: Fail-Safe Digital Twin

Configurable safety relays help prevent injuries and damage in factory automation systems by cutting off electrical power in response to data received from sensors. When a safety relay fails, the production line must be halted until the relay can be repaired or replaced, resulting in expensive downtime.

Phoenix Contact Electronics engineers use ANSYS Twin Builder software to create a digital twin, which integrates simulation results with physical measurements from the relay (and other components) to accurately predict the remaining life of each relay. This will enable factories to operate relays over nearly their full lifetime while minimizing failures and downtime.

The mechanical operation of the relay is simulated with static and transient ANSYS Mechanical finite element models. These simulations determine the motion, operating forces and stress conditions of the springs, transmission elements and other mechanical components. Full system simulation models for the relevant physics require a considerable amount of time to solve, so these models are converted to ROMs that preserve nearly all the accuracy of the original simulation model while providing results in a fraction of the time. ANSYS Twin Builder transforms the transient model into a ROM by dividing the model into individual linear parts, connecting them with coupling elements and transforming the natural modes into space-state matrices.

By Ralf Hoffmann, Senior Consulting Engineer, Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH, Berlin, Germany

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