The Digital Twin is the Digital of the Physical

The Digital Twin in Aerospace, Defence, Automotive and Marine sectors holds the key to a product being better through life, cheaper, and more green no matter where you need to start the Digital Twin journey.

The Digital Twin starts in manufacture, whilst this is not a true “Twin” as it is not the “Digital copy of a physical part” it helps build the picture of what that part should look like. Reporting on the condition of the tooling, the temperature of the environment, humidity, the machinist, and using data from the Supply Chain Management (SCM) system who supplied the material, when and which stock batch it was from. The first leg of the Digital Twin journey.

Once the part is manufactured you then inspect it to look for imperfections, (scratches, dents, additional material etc) whilst also looking at the geometric tolerances, to ensure it is within design specification/s. Using Photogrammetry this is completed within 60 seconds, to a tolerance of 2 micron (Gage R&R for blade inspection is available on request) and you have a full Digital Twin of the part. Repeat this until the whole product is complete and you then have the full “As manufactured” Digital Twin.

At every stage of the process the GemDT “Engineering Hub” is taking data feeds from PLM, ERP, IoT Sensors, SCM systems, Quality Systems, HR and Manufacturing systems, the more data you feed into the “Hub” the more information you receive relevant to that part or product. It is a well known fact, lots of big and small businesses are Data rich, and Information poor.

The Engineering Hub being an agnostic data gathering engine does not differentiate on where the data comes from, if a business has SAP ERP, Oracle HR, PTC Thinkworks, Microsoft Dynamics, Siemens PLM, Dassault CATIA the hub using API’s will collate that data and present it in a format that works for a Manufacturer and their customers.

Once the product is in service IoT sensors are collating huge amounts of data, data that is in service making the product better, helping the user and the client to understand how the product is flying, driving or sailing. This data is unique to this aeroplane, car or ship, to enable better support, faster turn around times and more importantly using Machine Learning for better performance and more informed service schedules.

When the product comes in for its required service, the Engineering Hub has collated that telemetric data, building up a picture of what may be required and who should be doing the tasks. When the product is the hangar, garage or dry dock a full scan can be taken while on the move or when static, reducing maintenance time and highlighting issues and assigning people, parts and tasks.

By comparing the scanned data of the plane, car or ship to the as built model, any defects such as dents, scrapes or even deformation can be picked up at each visit. Enabling a Digital Twin comparison, and a comparison against other comparable products, picking up trends of potential manufacturing errors.

Once the product is then stripped down for its assigned maintenance task, by using the as manufactured data, a true comparison of individual parts can be initiated, looking at parts like blades in engines, what did they look like when manufactured? What did it look like on the first inspection? What do they look like now?

By having a textured point cloud, and all the data of that product uniquely stored in the Engineering Hub if there is an issue, this data can be shared with Designers, Manufacturing engineers, and by using technology like Blockchain confidential data can be shared with the supply chain, universities or other potential resolver groups.

By capturing this digital data, having a full point cloud of the part or product, companies can use Virtual Reality (VR) caves globally to share the data, work collaboratively to resolve issues, and using Augmented Reality (AR) design workflows with tools like PTC Vuforia to enhance the repair cycle and automate areas that before were very manually intensive, like visual blade inspection. Reducing manpower and improving productivity.

Having this data rich environment, the Digital Twin can be enhanced by deploying tools like Machine Learning, AI and Predictive Analytics, these tools enhance the decision making, reducing errors and improving the products of the future.

The ability to share in collaborative safe environment data, for the first time across the business and across the installed base revolutionises how a TRUE Digital Twin can be embraced, a TRUE accurate Digital model of the Physical product with all the ancillary data following it through life gives Aerospace, Defence, Automotive and Marine businesses the ability to make business decisions based on product facts.

GemDT bringing the TRUE Digital Twin to Manufacturing. MRO and In Service Support.

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