Digital Twins – The PLM Role
Digital twins are the next new thing for product development in this digitalization era. They bring the physical and the digital worlds closer than ever and represent everything in the environment of a physical product, and not just the product itself and its production system. Enabled by Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and supported by advanced communications processes and workflows; often described as digital thread, Digital Twins represent the complete physical product throughout the entire lifecycle, end-to-end.
As products become ever more complex due to ever-increasing design complexity, regulatory requirements, higher software content, and the like, conventional simulations can constrain problem solving and decision-making. Digital Twins are much more than the typical CAE simulations with just design specifications, materials properties, geometric models, components, and analyses such as anticipated behavior under load . It moves past the primary reliance of conventional simulations on geometry. Even the best of today’s simulations are largely limited to geometric data in CAD, CAE, and PDM solutions plus other elements contained in engineering repositories. Conventional simulations are limited to problems that are tightly circumscribed. Digital twins have no such limitation: geometry and other engineering constraints are just starting points. Digital Twins are virtual frameworks for managing product data that is orders of magnitude more varied than what conventional simulations handle and more importantly to turn it into actionable information -information that can be used for making decisions and for supporting those decisions as elements of business models. This new framework uses latest digital technologies to simulate and accurately predict physical product behavior, which can change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
The growing importance of digital twins adds to PLM’s key role as the innovation platform. End-to-end digitalization of both products and processes is essential for any enterprise that intends to implement and take advantage of this new models . This means PLM itself must also continually adapt to support the design and delivery of innovative products and services and further enhance its abilities on collaboration, connectivity, and interoperability; which forms the foundations of any innovative platform .