The diffusion of Smart Manufacturing is actually leading industrial production in the 4.0 era, which sees from year to year the introduction of technological innovations in order to optimize every phase of the production process.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is another concept that is now part of the everyday vocabulary of the experts, and it is precisely on this trail that the so-called Digital Twin of products and processes are emerging within the factories.
Digital Twin is a well-known concept and can be defined as a virtual or digital model of the physical machine or the plant that allows to analyse its behaviour with predictive or optimization purposes.
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Digital Twin: what is it?
The Digital Twin is a virtual copy of a real product created to carry out tests that allow you to predict the functionality and goodness of a design and prevent any design errors.
Precondition is both the availability of particularly sophisticated software, such as Simcenter Amesim from Siemens Industry Software, which allow the creation of the digital twin of the new product.
Thanks to the digital twin it is possible to analyse and diagnose the operation of a product, to understand in a concrete way how it can be modified and improved. Simulation can also take place for very complex processes, such as thermo-fluid dynamics, mechanical elements aspects and battery operation in electric and hybrid vehicles.
According to a Gartner study from 2018, 48% of companies interested in IoT are planning to use Digital Twin, with the aim of shortening the time to market the product, reducing the number of physical prototypes and obtaining a high-performance physical product: in fact, approximately 50% of the time spent on design would be saved and production would increase by 20%.
A trend that will triple the number of companies that use these solutions by 2022.
Advantages of the Digital Twin
Adopting the Digital Twin in the industrial world already allows to obtain important advantages, such as:
- the ability to anticipate the onset of performance problems of a new design, by virtually testing and identifying design alternatives at no cost to solve the problem;
- Cost saving associated with the maintenance of defective products for the client company, using the digital twin in the predictive maintenance processes. By perfecting this feature, the client company will avoid costly downtime to machines and robots at the factory. It is also possible to predict when preventive maintenance will be required to avoid unnecessary downtime.
- the shift of the validation processes of the controls from the physical to the virtual world, with the virtual commissioning processes. Through the virtual commissioning the digital twin of the product is interfaced with its control software, in order to make virtual checks on the quality of the check and any debugging actions.
- the shortening of the time-to-market in order to reach the market faster than the competition, a problem that all companies have to face.
The consequences of not going digital
While the most far-sighted companies take advantage of the digital revolution to increase their competitiveness, those that do not adapt are in danger of succumbing.
The C-level believe that digitization will determine which companies will survive, estimating that over 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies will disappear in the next 10 years.
Failure to digitize is the main reason why half of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since 2000