What is the GemDT Digital Twin in Aerospace, Defence and Automotive?

Let me start by saying what it is not. The Digital Twin is not a digital version of a perfect CAD model populated with lots of IoT sensors telling you what your perfect model is not doing correctly in the real world.

The GemDT version of the Digital Twin starts with the digital backbone, the ability to use all data in the twin is essential, this starts with legacy data. 2D CAD or drawings, paper records converted into 3D and digital records for the digital thread.

Taking a 2D product and converting into a 3D model to create the Golden Record, to then give the ability to compare the as manufactured part against the as designed. Without a 3D model you cannot start the Digital Twin journey.

From the 3D model you can inspect all parts as they are manufactured, traditionally you would use a CMM, or a white light laser scanner, but this are not going to enable you to embark on the Digital Twin journey. CMM’s only give points, white light scanners do not like shiny parts, and lost of parts are shiny. By powder coating a part again does not give you a true digital record of the part or assembly, or product you have manufactured.

To this end, GemDT have invested a lot of research into looking at how can you achieve the Digital Twin, with a full geometric model and visual data to inspect for damage.

The only solution that ticked these boxes is Industrial Grade Photogrammetry. Fast, accurate and repeatable through a parts life.

Why is photogrammetry the answer? If you are going to service, or in aerospace Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) a product, aircraft, when the parts come of the product you want to keep the digital record.

The digital record is tracking how the parts are performing, when do they need replacing? How is the part performing? Is it performing to the as designed expectations?

With the ability to inspect the whole part, product for the first time designers can see how the products they have designed are performing, and using this data run new kinds of models in FEA/CFD to see 1/2/3 years down line are they doing what was intended.

A fundamental part of the Digital Twin is the ability to manage all of the data, the CAD data, PLM, ERP, CRM, HR, BOM and something that is regularly overlooked the Supply Chain Management (SCM) to ensure maximum return on a client’s investment in the Digital Twin.

SCM in the Digital Twin enables for example parts that are inspected that need to be replaced to be ordered in a seamless workflow, HR connection ensures the correct person is assigned to do a task and credentials checked, PLM ensures the correct CAD data is being used to compare parts. Examples of how having The Engineering Hub from GemDT powered by Oracle is key to enabling The Digital Twin.

By having The Engineering Hub, you can use technology like Business Intelligence (BI) to look at a dashboard to analyse how the product is performing against other products, against previous records of the part/product. The power of BI gives a client a powerful insight into how the supplied products are performing and the OEM can use this data to take pre-emptive corrective action if required.

The next business benefit of having The Engineering Hub for the Digital Twin is powering Machine Learning, this powerful tool enables businesses to add intelligence to a task.

Take MRO in Aerospace Engines, you take a turbine compressor assembly apart, you then inspect the blades individually using a GemDT photogrammetry cell. The blades geometry is measured, the weight of the blades are taken and a visual inspection is performed.

You then have:

  • What do they weigh?
  • What is the full geometry?
  • Are the blades still useable?
  • Do they need rework?
  • Are they scrap?
  • Is there any damage?
  • Has any material like ceramics been lost?

With the above data and using ML you can automate repair schedules, you can look at scrap rates and using BI work out is this in line with expectations, using ML you can also get benefits like automated assembly schedules.

Automated assembly schedules empowers the MRO engineer to re assemble the compressor assembly in an order the ML has determined is the most efficient for balance and with NGC’s throat area.

The ability to combine all of this information in the Digital Twin enables limitless opportunities, powering Deep Learning for the first time in the Digital Twin.

GemDT brining you Augmented Metrology to power the Digital Twin.

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