Virtual Twin® Explained

Imagine having a digital copy or a Virtual Twin® 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 simulation software: VPS-MICRO®.

The Virtual Twin in Use

If a component, product or system of components already exists, its Virtual Twin can be built in VPS-MICRO 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 processes, and usage or stress models. If the component, product or system of components does NOT yet exist (it’s in the design stage), VPS-MICRO can still be used to create a Virtual Twin representation based on whatever specifications the manufacturer selects. VEXTEC has even re-engineered the design for a customer’s legacy parts – using no more than a box of broken parts.

Once a customer has built their Virtual Twin in the VPS-MICRO software, they can either run fatigue simulations based on the product as it exists today, or based on whatever notional design changes are being considered. Every Virtual Twin can be exercised through a number of different design, material, and manufacturing parameter settings within the software. The user decides which settings are appropriate for each set of virtual simulations, and once those settings are selected, the software is ready to run.

VPS-MICRO has an easy-to-use graphical interface that can directly “read-in” geometry and stress information from many commercially available FEA software packages. Users are able to input different FEA models with little or no involvement from VEXTEC. Simulation runs may require as many as tens of billions of microstructural-level simulations to be conducted, cataloged and aggregated. The architecture of the software allows for thousands of component-level simulations to be conducted efficiently, reducing overall processing time to hours – or even minutes in many cases. After the simulations are complete, fatigue durability results can be tabulated, graphed, sorted, and exported into Excel spreadsheet files.

Obtaining this type of product intelligence from a Virtual Twin simulation is simple and straightforward in VPS-MICRO. For example, a recent customer 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 per day. From these parameters, the software produced a dynamic model that showed the effects of adjusting each parameter in 1% increments for a fleet of 10,000 turbine wheels. To replicate the fidelity of those same results, the company’s research lab would have had to perform thousands of experiments for all 10,000 components, a physical impossibility.

For more information about how to build your own product’s Virtual Twin simulations in VPS-MICRO, contact us.