ManufacturingNovember 25, 2022

Is Virtual Twin Technology the new savior in the race to transform sustainably?

An interview with Shika Chand, expert at Dassault Systèmes
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Virtual twin technology is a game changer in driving sustainable business transformations. The applications of virtual twin technology in manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, utilities, consumer packaged goods and retail are numerous. Its benefits are connected to both margin improvements and revenue growth while simultaneously accelerating a company’s sustainability mission.

“But above all, it makes sure that a company’s sustainability strategy is deeply embedded right in the heart of its business transformation journey,” says Shika Chand.

We sat together to talk with Shika Chand who is an expert on Sustainable Business Transformations at Dassault Systèmes.

First, what exactly is a virtual twin?

The idea of modeling the physical world has been around for centuries. This is what applied mathematics is all about. What has changed today is that advances in computing, cloud technology, automation, analytics, data management, machine learning, and IoT are coming together to enable us to replicate the physical reality in the virtual world even faster.

A virtual twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical asset, like a process, a product, a system or a system of systems. There are two aspects to this: A virtual model can be created of an asset before it even exists physically in the real world, or it can be created out of an asset that already exists physically today and is in use.

You can do everything virtually before a single physical unit is produced. You can test and validate a product, a process or a system before it even exists in the real world. Then once it exists, you can feed the model with real-time data, which can then be used to scale specific use cases to drive science based data-driven improvements and enterprise level decision-making.

What does the adoption of this technology look like?

Firstly, to drive adoption it is essential to democratize data. The building blocks of decoupling data from IT are the 3 A’s: Automation, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

Secondly, manufacturers today work either with the physical product or with the virtual product. There are very few disruptors who have developed the connection between the two, so that they can work with both of them simultaneously. The idea is to establish that connection as early as possible.

For example, a typical way to do this would be to first develop a fully annotated 3-D model. Then, develop a manufacturing process that will realize this model with a Bill of Process (BOP) and Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM). Lastly, you could simulate your sophisticated and advanced production process virtually with drastically shortened lead times and significant cost reductions.

How do you see the evolution of this technology?

It depends on the industry application of the right use cases and its ability to be robust and scale. In addition, it is all about open collaboration in a transparent, visible and accountable way.

For example, with virtual twin technology, a global manufacturer can look at any physical product at any stage on the factory floor and overlay the virtual product on top of it. This capability of virtual products can be extended across all the factories. This means that individuals across the world can not only look at the performance of their own factory, but they can also monitor how they are doing against other factories in other parts of the world. A problem that arises in one factory can be identified and solved not only in that factory; but the solution can immediately be transferred and implemented in similar factories across the globe where this problem is predicted to arise.

What could companies that are thinking about accelerating their business transformation do differently?

Think about the entire value chain as one connected ecosystem. As industry convergence accelerates thanks to digitalization, it becomes natural to collaborate across industries for example automotive, music, tech, design and fashion.

And most importantly, think about how you could ride the virtual twin technology wave to accentuate your sustainability mission to achieve Net Zero. At Dassault Systèmes, we take pride in helping companies reduce their absolute emissions across their whole value chain, to support the target to limit the global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed at the 2015 Paris climate summit.

The opportunities that come with virtual twin technology are endless.

Dassault Systèmes and its 3DEXPERIENCE solution

Dassault Systèmes is at the forefront of virtual twin technology. Its 3DEXPERIENCE solution connects an entire ecosystem on a single cloud-based platform. Users can leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE virtual twin to bring together the real and virtual worlds.

For more information, check out this video:

Read more about 3DS Virtual Twins here:

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