Description of field of research:

Industry 4.0 reflects the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and is one of the most popular research topics. Industry 4.0 promotes autonomous and digital production and transforms today's factories into smart ones. This offers great business opportunities and economic potential, including increasing production system productivity, improving product quality and customization, shorter lead times, and reduced environmental footprints. Smart factories are sprouting up all over the globe and they can range in size from very small to very large. Many of these systems are now being established in Australia. Hence, industry 4.0 is therefore becoming increasingly important in industrial and manufacturing engineering.

The key enabling technologies of industry 4.0 are cyber-physical systems, the internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), simulation, and digital twin [4]. The digital twin is an emerging technology and is defined as the digital replica of an object, mapping its characteristics and behavior. The digital twin aims to support the design, plan, and control of products, processes, and systems.

The idea of a digital twin relies on having a seamless connection between a physical object and its digital twin to improve its performance. However, both academia and industry believe that this seamless integration has not been completely achieved yet and it is needed to reduce and handle the issues of not having complete lifecycle data and data transmission latency to achieve the full potential of the digital twin.

In the context of industry 4.0, AI has been equipped with the digital twin for improving the product, process, and system design and real-time optimization of their performances.

In this research project, you will have the chance to investigate the application of AI and its integration with a digital twin for different purposes.

School

Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research areas

Industry 4.0, Digital twin, Artificial intelligence, Smart manufacturing

You work with Dr Shiva Abdoli as the main supervisor and her research team. You also have the chance to do some lab experiments.

One research project is to explore how AI can help to handle the issue of not having access to the entire lifecycle data of a product-system and the data transmission latency. So, you can conduct research on how AI can fill the data transmission gap between the digital twin and the real world. If this problem can be solved by proper AI application, then many Small to Medium enterprises might not need to invest heavily in communication devices such as IoT devices and use AI at different stages where it offers the most benefit. As a result, the full or near to full potential of the digital twin can be achieved with less cost. The expected outcome is a publication with critical discussion on challenges in the application of AI in this context, opportunities, and providing recommendations.

Another research is to develop a digital twin for a 3D printing process/machine equipped with a high-resolution camera. The first step of this project would be developing the model of the 3D printing process. Then an AI model will be developed and will be integrated with the digital twin to perform image processing and use the results to improve the 3D printing process quality. The expected outcome is a developed model with simulation results.