If you’re a tech person or you know a lot about Industry 4.0, you’ve most likely heard about “Digital Twins”. In recent years the term became very popular and even got to be one of the bigger trends in Industry 4.0.
In a nutshell
Digital twins integrate IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and software analytics with spatial network graphics to create living digital simulation models that update and change as their physical counterparts change. A digital twin continuously learns and updates itself from multiple sources to represent its near real-time status, working condition or position.
The digital twin as a concept refers to the idea that in a digital production world, mass customization combined with software means that every single product in a company's inventory will have a (perhaps) unique file containing all the settings and necessary production information. for that one part. A million unique hearing aids all have accessible, traceable digital twins that indicate when and how they were made.
The third sibling
In addition to the digital twin, we see that today there is a much more evolved third sibling stepping on the scene, this makes the digital twin; a digital triplet. During production, each individual part needs one record of its precise manufacture, and this will exist for the life of the product, available for tracking, querying and analysis. We have to keep this virtual sibling for reference, warranty, process optimization and simulation. But what can make it even more valuable? If a third sibling is added: a digital version of the product that contains everything that happened to it during its lifetime.
By having a digital triplet, we can really have the product, the digital copy and a file of the actual use in the wild as three separate things that can all be analyzed and tracked. Interoperability of environments, systems, software, parts and people can all be compared and continuously updated. The digital triplet is describes as “the digital representation of the human knowledge that runs the physical plant.”
Why the digital triplet
One of the advantages of the digital triplet that is that all the collected knowledge is saved and accessible. More traditional methods like shared drives or document repositories are not entirely digital in the sense that interactivity and metadata are not used effectively to support the end user and the system’s continual improvement.
Digital triplets offer a great amount of business potential by predicting the future instead of analyzing the past of the manufacturing process. The representation of reality created by digital twins allows manufacturers to evolve towards ex-ante business practices.
Flanders Make supports the digital twin and triplet
In a recent interview with Sonia Vanderlinden, Cluster Manager Flexible Assembly at Flanders Make, we already mentioned the digital twin and how it benefits manufacturers. Sonia told us that the idea of the digital twin is a virtual representation of a product. That can be used in a product design, simulation, control, optimization and is an important concept in IoT. “Flanders Make will focus strongly on the digital copy of ex. assembly processes so that in this way one can also do analyzes and optimize things before anything is actually produced. ”
“By connecting everything together, intelligent models are created that we can then feed with data afterwards and these then form the basis for the digital twin,” says Sonia.
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