Simulation models have already been widely used in various industries, integrated within the CAD/CAE processes. On their side, equipment manufacturers have been collecting for decades operational data on their equipment, but it was used only internally and a posteriori, often just to know what happened but not why it happened.
New monitoring technologies, together with computational power and cloud computing, now allow combining in real time the virtual simulation of physical objects with the use of real operating data, which entails a true paradigm change.
Digital Twins have become the talk of the town in recent times and, as stated by Gartner, they are among the top ten strategic technologies for 2018. And it is not surprising, given their advantages.
Digital twins allow adopting data-based decisions, automating business processes, enhancing interdepartmental collaboration, even developing new business models, while responding to growing customer demands in the most efficient manner.
In design, digital twins are primarily used as a feedback mechanism, to understand how the physical equipment works in real operating environments and to simulate its behaviour in various conditions, thereby simplifying the design of new versions. New designs can be validated against historical parameters of the working environment, gathered by the physical twin of a previous version, to measure the performance and behaviour of the redesign, preventing failures or faults that otherwise would have been difficult to anticipate.
Once the new design is in operation, the digital twin can simulate its working conditions in real time and provide the support needed to monitor remotely the physical twin, to detect and solve incidents, thus avoiding extended outages, or to introduce design improvements using the data collected..
Digital twin networks, interconnected through a platform, foster interdepartmental collaboration and make it possible to share information with suppliers and even customers, leading to collaborative improvements in the design of products and processes.
Internally, since the data generated by the digital twins is shared through a platform by all the participants in a project, all departments involved (R&D, marketing, finance, sales) have access to the same information, thus improving the coordination, the efficient identification of the correct design, and the financial and commercial feasibility.
Moreover, digital twin networks provide invaluable information about how customers use the products. As the user-product interaction is monitored, future designs can forgo unnecessary features and product developments, while concentrating in the more popular features and products.
In this sense, Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE is a professional platform that provides industry with integral solutions, based on 3D design software, simulation and intelligence, all within a collaborative, interactive environment.
Indeed, this may be the most salient feature, as creating open and collaborative work spaces, based on the use of digital twin networks, offers opportunities for optimising all processes, from design to sales and post-sales services.