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How Simulation-Based Digital Twins and the Industrial Internet of Things Can Improve Product and Process Performance

Simulation has long been used to improve the design of nearly every physical product or process by providing the opportunity to evaluate a wide range of alternative designs prior to building physical prototypes. Simulation has also long been used to model different operating scenarios to develop control strategies that are incorporated into control algorithms to improve operations. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has created the potential for a transformational journey in which a simulation model of the product or process is tied through the Internet to sensors capturing data and to actuators controlling its operation. The result is a so-called digital twin of the physical product or process that can be used to analyze and diagnose its operation and optimize its performance and maintenance in real time. By using simulation in conjunction with the IoT, companies can analyze the performance of products in real-world operating conditions and make confident predictions about future performance to improve product operation and productivity, and to reduce the cost and risk of unplanned downtime.

Emergence of the Internet of Things

Multiphysics-based simulation drives the product development process.

The IoT is changing the way companies approach the entire product lifecycle from development, testing and manufacturing to operations and maintenance. Smart connected products leverage connectivity with the cloud and other devices to deliver unprecedented functionality. The proliferation of smart connected products offers exciting new capabilities for their users and enormous opportunities to companies developing them. There are already more smart devices connected to the internet today than there are human beings in the world. IoT devices are creating massive opportunities for existing businesses and giving rise to brand new markets and companies. The potential economic impact by 2025 has been estimated to be up to $11 trillion per year.

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