Digital twin and how it can benefit your company
01 Jun, 2022

Digital twin and how it can benefit your company

You've probably heard or read about the term "digital twin" in blogs or articles. Recently, this term has been spreading across the technology and industrial sectors, with various companies highlighting the benefits of their "digital twin" offerings. Each of these versions of the digital twin is typically based on one core concept: the digital twin as a virtual representation of a physical object or product. This virtual representation may include design, simulation, or other models that evolve and change over time as the product they represent evolves. In other words, the digital twin merges the virtual and real worlds, blurring the boundaries between the engineering and process domains.

Yet, beyond this basic concept, what the digital twin is and what it can do differs depending on whom you ask. Is it a data stream or a process? Is it just a very accurate representation of the product in its current state, or should it also predict product performance or other attributes? Is it limited to the product, or should it extend to the entire lifecycle or value chain? Can a product have multiple digital twins or should it be represented by a single twin?

Soltec's view is that there is only one digital twin of the product that encompasses and supports the multiple lifecycle phases and corresponding models of the actual product representation. This comprehensive digital twin has the following characteristics:

  • Offers an accurate virtual representation of the product or process flow that matches the exact physical form, function, and behavior of the product and its configurations.
  • Participates in the entire product and process lifecycle to simulate, predict, and optimize the product and manufacturing system used to create the product.
  • Connects real-world operational data back into product design and manufacturing throughout the product lifecycle to continuously improve quality, efficiency, and respond quickly to customer requirements or market conditions.

The complex digital twin of today's sophisticated and increasingly intelligent products will encompass all models and data from a variety of areas - from mechanical CAD and CAE to software code, material specifications, process specifications and more. And, as mentioned above, this digital twin continues to evolve and improve along with the product as features are refined, simulations are completed, test results are collected, and design changes are implemented. The overall digital twin extends well beyond product design into production and product into the field. With IoT connectivity and cloud-based data analytics capabilities, the complex digital twin can function as part of a closed-loop feedback mechanism between product design, the manufacturing system, and the product in the field. This creates an integrated system for validating, comparing and optimising behaviour between physical assets and the comprehensive digital twin.

As this integrated feedback loop extracts terabytes of data from the related product and manufacturing lifecycles, the comprehensive digital twin helps organize and extract value from this data. Not only does this bring benefits in the short term, but this data also offers ongoing benefits as reuse can help speed up design evaluations and trade-off analyses, leading to faster decisions. Additionally, a comprehensive digital twin allows your company to design, create, and optimize next-generation products faster and cheaper than ever before, with fewer prototypes, less testing, and less waste during production. The result is a distinct competitive advantage in meeting customers' growing demands for greater performance, smarter features, higher quality and response to consumer needs and expectations.

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