A classic deployment of a digital twin includes three pillars: product design, manufacturing process planning and feedback loops.
- Product design
A digital twin includes all design elements of a product, namely:
- 3D models using computer-aided design (CAD) systems
- System models (using systems engineering product development solutions, such as systems-driven product development)
- Bill-of-materials (BOM)
- 1D, 2D and 3D analysis models using computer-aided engineering (CAE) systems such as Simcenter™ software
- Digital software design and testing using application lifecycle management (ALM) systems such as Polarion ALM software
- Electronics design using systems developed by Mentor Graphics
Using these elements results in a comprehensive computerized model of the product, enabling almost 100 percent of virtual validation and testing of the product under design. All of this eliminates the need for prototypes, reduces the amount of time needed for development, improves the quality of the final manufactured product and enables faster iterations in response to customer feedback.
- Manufacturing process planning
The Siemens solutions available today enable the development of three models critical to any manufacturer:
- Manufacturing process model – the how – resulting in an accurate description of how this product will be produced
- Production facility model – the where – providing a full digital representation of the production and assembly lines needed to make the product
- Production facility automation model – Describing how the automation system, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, programmable logic controller (PLC) hardware and software, human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software, etc., will support the production system
The value of the digital twin in manufacturing offers a unique opportunity to virtually simulate, validate and optimize the entire production system. It also lets you test how the product, with all its primary parts and subassemblies, will be built using manufacturing processes, production lines and automation.
- Feedback loops
When it comes to the feedback loops of the Digital Twins pillars , there are two kinds that have a significant impact on most manufacturers
- The Smart Factory Loop and
- The Smart Product Loop.
“Product Design” and “Manufacturing process planning” pillars were in existence for a while but the “Feedback loops” is a newer one. I will discuss elaborately on it in my next blog .