Product development is core to business success. More often than not, Good Design equals Good Business when everything else is done right. One of the biggest developments in the world of technology over the past few years has been that of digital twins. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical system, process or product. The technology essentially provides a real-time look at how a physical asset is performing. In this article, we will be talking about how digital twin can provide a new dimension to the traditional product development phases.

Digital twins have been already adopted in manufacturing, automotive and construction industries. Organizations in these respective industries are using digital twin technology to evaluate the performance of a given physical asset, and then determine where improvements can be made to achieve better results in the future.

If you are reading this on an iPhone, your phone may most likely capture the data and send it to Apple for analysis. With every tap and swipe on billions of iPhones in the world, Apple can better understand which software components are working properly and which software is not working properly. then updates the software as per the insights. And, Apple is not the only one doing this.

What would happen if the practice of continuously capturing performance data and applying it to product development was applied to every product in the world? Well, this is the ultimate goal of the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital twins.

Tesla is another such example where digital twin has been used in product development to improve the performance of their cars. Sensors from thousands of cars continuously stream data into each car’s simulation in the factory, where Artificial Intelligence (AI) interprets and analyses the data and determines whether a car is working as intended.

Which Product Life Cycle Stage will Gain the Most ‘Value’ from Digital Twin Technology:

A recent survey by research facilities provider ‘Catapult’ included results from several engineers (from a range of disciplines) to better understand the components they believe are the most necessary for digital twin technology to function effectively. Key findings of the survey in different stages of the product life cycle were:

1. Maintenance, Repair, and Operations:

Almost all engineers believed digital twin to have the maximum impact in this stage in the product life cycle.

2. Manufacturing:

Manufacturing was believed to be the next best where digital twin would add more value.

3. Simulation:

Simulation of a model that predicts the current and future behaviour of a given physical asset will also have a positive impact because of digital twin.

4. Quality Control:

The utilization of digital twin for Quality Control testing seems highly promising.

5. Design:

Organizations have successfully used digital twin for product design during the design phase of a product/system to save POC / MVP costs.

6. Finance & Procurement:

The survey highlighted on Finance & Procurement being one of the departments in the product life cycle to benefit less from digital twins.

7. Sales & Marketing:

In addition to Finance & Procurement, Sales & Marketing was another department where the engineers believed that digital twins would have the least impact.

The conclusion on Finance & Procurement as well as Sales & Marketing was more from the as-is standpoint of the industries. Both these functions offer greater promise of delivering innovative solutions using digital twins. But, for now the organizations seem to be focused on innovating their manufacturing processes using IoT and digital twins.

With high-performance cloud computing, various goals can be optimized through generative design. Depending on the product, part, or use case, designers can use AI to optimize parts to extend service life, maintain strength, reduce weight, stay within heat transfer thresholds, or limit resistance. Designs can also be optimized for different manufacturing technologies, allowing manufacturers to create designs that can be manufactured using equipment they already own (whether it is casting, milling or extrusion equipment).

We are in an era of rapid technological development. The most important thing is the rise with digital twin product development. It has technology that can cover the entire life cycle of a physical system, process, or product; it provides companies with powerful analysis tools that can comprehensively evaluate key performance indicators and provide insights on where they can be enhanced. In the long run, the lessons and recommendations of digital twins will bring opportunities for innovation and growth.

Digital twin driven product design and development is always partly driven by analysis of existing products. With the popularity of IoT sensors, digital twins and generative design will enable manufacturers to understand the performance of their products on an unprecedented scale and automatically apply these insights to build better products, thereby accelerating the pace of innovation.

We have a patented digital twin technology and subject matter experts with digital twin expertise who can help you transform your products easily, quickly and efficiently. Contact us today to speak with our experts.