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Digital Twins/IIoT

Bringing the business benefits of engineering simulation (CAE) to the entire product performance life-cycle (PPL)

What are Digital Twins? IIoT? Why Bother?

As is true with any emerging field of technology, Digital Twins is just now coalescing into a clearer definition of what it actually means in practice. Many market observers and vendors have offered up their views on what Digital Twins means to them. The ingredients have been around for a while, but their synergistic combination is just now bearing initial business fruit. Key enablers are the increasing accuracy of CAE models, the declining costs of high-performance computing, expanding cloud accessibility, and low-cost sensors. 

What is IIoT? IoT (Internet of Things) is just connecting physical devices/systems to each other via the internet (think: your home internet-connected thermostat and an app on your smartphone that enables you to observe and change the temperature in your home from anywhere on earth if you have an internet connection). If the devices and connections and data transfer via the internet are for business/industrial systems, that’s the INDUSTRIAL Internet of Things. A lot more detailed and involved, but the same basic idea. When one of the “things” is a current/updated physics/simulation-based digital model, that’s where IIoT plays a role in Digital Twins.

Some Digital Twins Definitions

  • Success Stories

    What good is a revolution if it doesn’t result in useful change? See how companies are achieving significant time savings with measurable improvements in consistency, accuracy & repeatability…READ MORE

  • Coming of Age

    Digital Twins have been around for a while, but they are just beginning to bear fruit. Key enablers are the increasing accuracy of simulation, lower Cloud computing costs and accessibility, and low-cost sensors. 
    READ MORE

  • Digital Twins in the Hot Seat:  Realizing Great Expectations (June 19th, 2 PM EDT)

    Digital Twins in the Hot Seat: Realizing Great Expectations (June 19th, 2 PM EDT)

    The phrase “digital twin” has become quite the manufacturing buzzword, stirring up Utopian views on what it can do for predictive maintenance, simulation and more. But how is it different from a 3D CAD product model? Can it ever live up to its full potential? In this LIVE webcast, DE engages expert panelists to discuss the topic.

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    In this LIVE webcast, DE challenges panelists to discuss:

    a no-nonsense definition of digital twins;
    the types of products that make sense as digital twins;
    real-world examples of digital twins in operation.
    We invite you to submit your own burning questions to the panelists. Help us stump them!

    View Webinar
  • Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH: Fail-Safe Digital Twin

    Configurable safety relays help prevent injuries and damage in factory automation systems by cutting off electrical power in response to data received from sensors. When a safety relay fails, the production line must be halted until the relay can be repaired or replaced, resulting in expensive downtime.

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    Phoenix Contact Electronics engineers use ANSYS Twin Builder software to create a digital twin, which integrates simulation results with physical measurements from the relay (and other components) to accurately predict the remaining life of each relay. This will enable factories to operate relays over nearly their full lifetime while minimizing failures and downtime.

    The mechanical operation of the relay is simulated with static and transient ANSYS Mechanical finite element models. These simulations determine the motion, operating forces and stress conditions of the springs, transmission elements and other mechanical components. Full system simulation models for the relevant physics require a considerable amount of time to solve, so these models are converted to ROMs that preserve nearly all the accuracy of the original simulation model while providing results in a fraction of the time. ANSYS Twin Builder transforms the transient model into a ROM by dividing the model into individual linear parts, connecting them with coupling elements and transforming the natural modes into space-state matrices.

    By Ralf Hoffmann, Senior Consulting Engineer, Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH, Berlin, Germany

    View Article
  • ANSYS: How Oil and Gas Digital Twins Improve Prognostics Health Management

    The oil and gas industry is always searching for ways to produce energy at lower costs. To achieve this goal, the industry can apply oil and gas digital twins to various industrial equipment. Physics-based digital twins provide prognostics and health management which enables system optimization and predictive maintenance.

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    The industry is familiar with sensor-based digital twins that offer users a window to an asset’s current environment, service life and internal/external loads. A physics-based digital twin, however, provides additional insights needed to understand the performance of equipment. Digital twins take sensor data and process it through systems simulations and embedded control software that mimic the reactions of the real-world asset. For instance, the industry can monitor a pipeline and use a digital twin to predict how erosion, corrosion, buckling and fatigue will affect the real-world asset. This data can then be used to optimize future designs, predict maintenance cycles, prevent spills, reduce downtime and improve throughput. In other words, oil and gas digital twins, supported by ANSYS physics-based simulations, are great tools to reduce operating costs and lower the risk of unplanned shutdowns.

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  • Cambashi’s Latest Views on Digital Twins

    Cambashi’s Latest Views on Digital Twins

    Cambashi, a leading UK-based computer/software market analyst firm has just published this article on the growing importance of Digital Twins.

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    The Digital Twin concept is creating an opportunity for PLM providers. Top management of PLM user companies already believe PLM is the owner of Digital Twin technology. The opportunity is for PLM providers to take the lead in defining road maps which will guide their customers’ visions for Digital Transformation. This paper considers road maps in other sectors and Cambashi market data to suggest how PLM providers can elbow their way to the front of the queue.

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  • COMSOL Blog (Ed Fontes): Digital Twins: Not Just Hype

    COMSOL Blog: "Is the term “digital twin” just hype, or a trick to get a new angle to sell modeling software? In this blog post, we discuss the difference between models, applications, and digital twins. We conclude that although the term has been misused to a certain extent (in relation to the original formulation), there is substance behind it."

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    What Is a Digital Twin?

    One of the first industries to consider the use of digital twins is the aerospace industry. In a very insightful paper, Glaessgen and Stargel explain the use of digital twins for vehicle certification and fleet management. The digital twin for a vehicle would be used to “continuously forecast the health of the vehicle or system, the remaining useful life, and the probability of mission success.” The description of the digital twin is the following: “A digital twin is an integrated multiphysics, multiscale, probabilistic simulation of an as-built vehicle or system that uses the best available physical models, sensor updates, fleet history, etc., to mirror the life of its corresponding flying twin.”

    The term “digital twin” was coined by Michael Grieves at the University of Michigan in 2011.  The concept had already been formulated by Grieves in 2002, but was then referred to as a “mirrored spaces model.” In Grieves’s definition, the digital twin concept consists of a real space and a virtual space. The virtual space contains all of the information gathered from the real space. It also contains a high-fidelity description of the physical device or process from the microscopic level to the geometric, macroscopic level. The description provided by the digital twin should be “virtually indistinguishable from its physical counterpart.”

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  • 3 “Digital Twin” Stocks for Your Portfolio

    3 “Digital Twin” Stocks for Your Portfolio

    Growth in the Internet of Things is spurring interest in digital twins. Here's how you can make money from it.

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    The stock investment community has discovered Digital Twins: “The best way to play the theme is probably to buy the software companies that facilitate the creation of digital twins. Three names that spring to mind are engineering simulation company ANSYS, IoT platform provider PTC Inc., and engineering software company Dassault Systemes.”

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  • Virtual Sensors in Digital Twins

    "By definition, a virtual sensor is a type of software that, given the available information, processes what a physical sensor otherwise would. It learns to interpret the relationships between the different variables, and observes readings from the different instruments. Think of it as a kind of a “ghost” of the physical sensor." (Chad Jackson)

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    “The idea here is that if you’re running a simulation and you’re getting accurate inputs, and it is mimicking the behavior of a product in real life, in real time, you can then instrument that simulation model with taking measurements at different locations. You are going to be getting readings from that virtual sensor, which is where you’re taking measurements, and then you can actually use that to complement physical sensors.

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  • Digital Twin Approach in Industrial Applications at ZF

    ZF applies the latest VR and simulation technology.

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    Learn more about how ZF applies the latest VR and simulation technology during development, manufacturing and Service of their Test Systems for Tire Finishing applications.

    View Blog Post
  • CHAD JACKSON: ARE DIGITAL TWINS REALLY NEW?

    CHAD JACKSON: ARE DIGITAL TWINS REALLY NEW?

    People have been feeding sensor data to simulations for years. How are Digital Twins different? This post explains the key difference between the two scenarios.

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    …when we’re talking about a digital twin, we’re after something very different. It’s about capturing sensor data from a product in real time and feeding it in real time to a simulation being solved in real time. That’s the biggest difference. It’s not done separately. It’s not done later. It’s being run in real time while the product is in use. We can learn how the product is being used, and in what ways it might be failing.

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  • What is a Digital Twin?

    This article explains the concept of a Digital Twin, a digital model driven by sensor data to provide future or deeper insight into an existing physical product's performance.

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    Chad Jackson has just published a good discussion (with a video narrative, while apparently walking in some airport between flights?) about Digital Twins, as part of his ongoing, excellent “Lifecycyle Insights” website and blog series. Take a look at his blog post.

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  • NAFEMS European Keynote on Digital Twins

    NAFEMS European Keynote on Digital Twins

    At the NAFEMS European Conference in Budapest in October 2018 (focus topic: Multiphysics Simulation), the Moderator of the Digital Twins "How It Works" area of Revolution in Simulation (Dennis Nagy) presented a keynote on the definitions and current status of Digital Twins. Take a look.

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    These are the slides from the Keynote Presentation. See also the April 2018 issue of NAFEMS Benchmark.

     

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          • Digital Twin Approach in Industrial Applications at ZF

            ZF applies the latest VR and simulation technology.

            View SummaryGet Content

            Learn more about how ZF applies the latest VR and simulation technology during development, manufacturing and Service of their Test Systems for Tire Finishing applications.

            View Blog Post
          • What is a Digital Twin?

            This article explains the concept of a Digital Twin, a digital model driven by sensor data to provide future or deeper insight into an existing physical product's performance.

            View SummaryGet Content

            Chad Jackson has just published a good discussion (with a video narrative, while apparently walking in some airport between flights?) about Digital Twins, as part of his ongoing, excellent “Lifecycyle Insights” website and blog series. Take a look at his blog post.

            View Article