The rise of the digital twin

MathWorks Australia

Tuesday, 16 January, 2018



The rise of the digital twin

MathWorks Industry Manager Philipp Wallner* describes the great advantages to be found in the use of simulation models, given the evolution of mechanical and plant engineering.

Today, developers in the industrial automation space are facing increasingly complex challenges in mechatronic systems, with the proportion of software steadily increasing. Given this, it is important for companies to focus on all three disciplines of mechatronics — mechanics, electrics and software — when developing new machines.

For example, even before the first physical design, a new machine can be completely digitally designed and its full functionality can be checked by virtual test runs. This saves companies time to market, especially in cases where assembly is complicated or costly, such as in an offshore wind farm.

But even after launching and selling the product, a ‘digital twin’ can still do valuable work. With the capabilities of Industry 4.0, this virtual image of the machine can always be supplied with real-time data from the physical system, thus running in parallel throughout the life of the machine. The data obtained provides valuable information on possible errors or signs of wear, for example if the measured values ​​don’t match the simulated values. This usually provides a first clue for finding causes and troubleshooting. Early intervention can significantly extend the life of the machine and also eliminate costly errors and failures even before they occur.

It is not essential to reproduce the entire system digitally. Even a digital model of a single machine or of certain mechatronic components can significantly increase the efficiency of the entire production chain. Model-based design, with tools like MATLAB and Simulink, has demonstrated success in industries like automotive and aerospace and defence.

As mechanical engineering companies and the industrial automation segment sees a growing number of challenges that cannot be solved purely physically, these companies will gravitate towards and see a growing advantage from modelling, simulation and automatic code generation in mechanical and plant engineering. The digital twin will soon become a must-have to survive in the competition.

*As Industry Manager for the industrial automation and machinery field at MathWorks, Philipp Wallner is responsible for driving the business development of this industry segment that comprises energy production, automation components and production machines. Prior to joining MathWorks, Philipp worked in the machine builder industry, where he held different engineering and management positions.

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS

Related Articles

6 factors for a successful wireless design

Every wireless device needs an antenna, so here are some of the factors that add up to make a...

The secret of big digital chip design is all in the NoC

Without an NoC, a chip could need up to 10 times more memory to operate without latency, which...

GaN-on-Si half-bridge circuits developed

Researchers have created a user-friendly, highly integrated GaN voltage converter in a compact...


  • All content Copyright © 2020 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd