Benefits of Digital Twins – Maplesoft Engineering Solutions

Benefits of Digital Twins


A digital twin is a virtual representation of your product, and the perfect companion for diagnostics, maintenance, and product innovation. As an essential component of modern virtual commissioning, digital twins serve as realistic models for fast, accurate PLC testing, ensuring that design issues are ironed out before the production floor.

Because model-based digital twins do not require physical performance data to predict behavior, they can be used for a greater range of engineering tasks:

  • Conceptual Development: Very early experimentation with design concepts in a model that predicts the dynamic behavior of the design provides powerful insight and allows engineers to make more informed design decisions.
  • Virtual Commissioning: Long before the first build, engineers can predict the steady-state and transient loads that the actuators will face during their duty cycles. This helps to properly size the actuators to eliminate failure, while avoiding over-engineering, when putting the bill of materials together.
  • Online Diagnostics: Running the model performance of the digital twin in parallel with the real machine can provide valuable insight into where a problem might arise as the machine’s response drifts from the model as it ages.
  • Virtual Sensors: Since the dynamic response of the digital twin is built on rigorous physical laws, certain internal calculated properties may be sufficient to use as inputs to the control system, either to temporarily replace a faulty sensor until it can be fixed, or eliminate the use of that sensor altogether. Both scenarios can provide significant reduction in costs.
  • Predictive Maintenance: There are many factors that determine the maintenance schedule for a machine, but one factor is frequently overlooked because it is difficult to predict without a digital twin. This factor is the impact of dynamic loading on bearings, gears, and motors, caused by changes in the duty cycle. Putting a digital twin through a proposed duty cycle can help to determine the loads on these components and the impact on the component life.
  • Product Enrichment: All the above operations most likely take place on the real-time automation platform or SCADA system by engineers in the design office or operations room. However, we are already seeing several manufacturers moving this capability onto the machine itself, so these capabilities can be offered to the operator on the shop floor. These valuable features will allow manufacturers to provide greater innovations and differentiate themselves from their competition.
  • Sales Tool: Outside of the engineering department, the digital twin can be used in the selling process to qualify customer specifications and provide accurate information that is specialized to each customer. This information can help validate the performance and operation of a machine given different payloads or operating conditions, without needing a full consultation by the engineer.

Next: Digital Twins for Virtual Commissioning

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