Specialist Explosive Detection Technology Business demonstrates and proves designs with Emulate3D

Posted: 5-Aug-2020

An industry leading explosive detection business has been working closely with AutoLogic Systems, a company that has provided Emulate3D simulation and emulation solutions for over 10 years. Emulate3D is developed today by Rockwell Automation for whom AutoLogic is a value added reseller.

The manufacture of security screening products/solutions including people, baggage, cargo and vehicle screening inspection for global ports and the world’s largest airports with over 100,000 systems installed in over 170 countries and a portfolio of customers including; Customs & Border agencies, Aviation, Law Enforcement agencies as well as Governmental & Military bodies, recognised the benefits of utilising the latest Emulate3D technology from AutoLogic, to help demonstrate, test and prove their designs to their aviation customers in a secure off-line environment. AutoLogic assisted by creating digital twins of their equipment and intended operational processes.

Rockwell also has a long history of providing solutions to the security screening manufacturer including hardware and HMI software for their explosive detection systems.

Airport systems and design

Busy airports process millions of passengers, their cabin baggage through ever increasingly demanding security checks each & every day. Airports continuously look for ways to improve the overall security processes, procedures and, importantly, the overall experience to ensure they are as efficient and effective yet as rigorous as possible. Equally Airports need to plan ahead, safeguarding and future-proofing existing hardware, or efficiently invest in new hardware and re-designs as they grow and expand.

Knowing any change in process or equipment is going to be implemented seamlessly without causing any disruption to passengers or their journeys.

It is for this reason that this Security Company provides an extensive off-line design, testing and demonstration environment using Emulate3D.

Within the simulation environment the system develops a model of each element of the bespoke system design and the specific Concept of Operations (ConOps) processes being deployed, coupled with the anticipated number of passengers during existing or future peaks (and their luggage) that will pass through it. In-addition, the model helps identify the impact of too many or too few resources on duty and any other subtle variables that can and do affect the overall process throughput. It is also possible to add new hardware/equipment, increased/decreased passengers, staff, more or less efficient search procedures, processes and variables testing any configuration before its installed in a live environment.

Helping airports understand the sensitivities

Through their modelling capabilities the team are able to clearly demonstrate system and sub-system sensitivities that have such a big impact on the overall throughput of passengers at any specific airport.

By altering and testing the parameters at any point in a particular system design the Sales and Business Development team can demonstrate the effect this would have on the amount of time it takes passengers to get through the security area. For example, they could add or remove members of staff at specific times, the number of search benches, how quickly the passenger removes their tray or the number of screeners available, quickly creating various scenarios and run these systematically to highlight any areas of improvement or where ‘die-back’/process inefficiencies might occur as a result.

How Emulate3D works

Emulate3D allows you to create a digital twin of your system or operation and test in an office environment. As well as creating detailed 3D simulation models, you can develop, test, and produce robust PLC and mid-level control systems offline, before building the real system. Controls emulation saves time and money by testing the control system before going on-site; shorten the project’s critical path with virtual commissioning and reduce overall testing time.

By using a 3D model to provide realistic feedback in place of the real automated system, operator training becomes safer, cheaper, and does not disrupt existing production.

Hardware or Operational?

With increasing growth, Airport’s need to balance increasing throughput against capital costs, some thinking the only option is to invest in the latest equipment an elite sales team has just demonstrated to them. However, by being able to replicate, alter and test various parameters within a simulated virtual operation, accurately demonstrating the outputs the client can anticipate. It’s often the case that improvements can be made by simply adapting or changing their current operations set up (ConOps) instead of unnecessary extensive levels of investment in expensive hardware.

By having the capability to test every single scenario or configuration in an offline environment, the airport takes a ‘step back’ and asks: ‘What throughput do we want, need and in which ways can we achieve it?’ Often the result isn’t always costly investment in extensive hardware configurations, but the right answer gained is balancing process performance and equipment delivering clients CapEx savings or cost avoidance.

The need to carry out expensive hardware trials is also reduced using Emulate3D to add the specification of a proposed piece of machinery or equipment, demonstrating it working to true speed and spatially to scale. It can also be used to stress test future demand, demonstrating long term value and future-proofing as the airport grows. The team believes they can work to a peak performance accuracy of around ~95% given a defined set of metrics. Such trials can take months and run into the £/$/€000’s but Emulate3D provides this with a fraction of the risk and investment. These savings can either be invested into the machinery itself or diverted to other Capital plans elsewhere in the business realising greater overall ROI.

Pushing the boundaries of virtual testing

Thanks to the advanced algorithms and graphics within Emulate3D, the client has a unique ability to provide such accurate testing and demonstrations in a virtual environment, now makes it possible to see a dynamic representation of a future security system design that incorporates the variance and randomness of passenger footfall that airports experience day-to-day. Emulate3D provides a truly realistic working model of an airport.

Building integrity and relationships

Not only does the Emulate3D testing environment provide high degrees of accuracy, dynamic modelling capabilities and state of the art graphics, it provides reassurances and confidence to customers, enabling them to build long lasting mutual and trusted relationships with them.

Every time the team build, test and demonstrates a future model they can validate to their customers what’s being sold is actually what they need and not what other suppliers ‘they’ think they need, even if the investment is lower. Everybody has the confidence that what’s been invested will meet their needs not only now but also in the future.