Virtual Twin® Explained

Imagine having a digital copy of a mechanical component, a complex system, or even an entire product line or fleet, that can be exercised through in-service or customer usage scenarios just as if it were actually present in the physical world.

This is the principle behind VEXTEC’s Virtual Twin® product simulators.

The Virtual Twin in Use

If a component, product or system of components already exists, VEXTEC can build its Virtual Twin from the existing digital or even analog information that describes it—ideally, its geometric dimensions, processed material properties (from physical samples or the parts themselves), its manufacturing process, and usage or stress models. If the component, product or system of components does NOT exist, VEXTEC can still create a Virtual Twin based on whatever specifications the manufacturer selects. VEXTEC has even re-engineered the design for legacy parts – using no more than a box of broken parts.

Once their Virtual Twin simulator is activated, customers access it themselves by logging into VEXTEC’s secure Internet portal on the VEXTEC.com website. Upon access, the user can either run the simulator based on the product as it exists, or based on whatever notional changes are being considered.

Every Virtual Twin can be exercised through a number of different design and/or manufacturing parameter settings. The user decides which settings are appropriate for each virtual simulation run, and once those settings are selected, the simulator is ready to run.

Every Virtual Twin simulation run of a fleet or a product line may require as many as tens of billions of individual simulations to be conducted, cataloged and aggregated. To deliver the necessary computational horsepower, VEXTEC uses a cloud computing. Using the near-infinite resources of the cloud, thousands of simulations can be conducted simultaneously, thereby reducing Virtual Twin overall processing time to hours, or even minutes in most cases.

The Virtual Twin simulation software is an open architecture application so the simulation results can be displayed within a Google-based spreadsheet. Like any spreadsheet application, the results can be viewed, graphed, sorted, printed or saved. Prior simulation run results can also be brought into the currently displayed results so comparisons can be made.

VEXTEC has enabled its Virtual Twin software to direct “read-in” results from any commercially available FEA software package. Users will be able to input different FEA results files with little or no involvement from VEXTEC. VEXTEC has also created an FEA template so that Virtual Twin results, like probability of failure, can be directly overlaid within any FEA software produced stress contour map.

Obtaining this type of product intelligence from a Virtual Twin simulation is simple and straightforward. For example, a recent Virtual Twin engagement was able to isolate three factors that contributed to a turbine wheel’s reliability: 1) the size of grains in the material, 2) the processing defect density, and 3) the speed and variation in wheel cycles expended per day. From these parameters, the simulator produced a dynamic model that showed the effects of adjusting each parameter in 1% increments for a fleet of 10,000. To replicate those same results, the company’s research lab would have to perform thousands of experiments for all 10,000 components, a physical impossibility.

For more information about beginning your own Virtual Twin engagement, contact us.