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Digital Twins: Multiplying Opportunities

Category: Manufacturing Technology Jun 29, 2020

Meet the good twin—the digital twin. It sounds futuristic, but digital twins can improve operations and decrease maintenance needs.

Digital twins are digital replicas of virtual and physical assets. They have the capacity to learn and perform self-updates—making their capabilities nearly limitless.

The Digital Twin

What is it? Digital twins are digital replicas of virtual and physical assets.

Why is it important? Twins are used to improve operations and maintenance. Twins can continuously learn and update themselves. 

Seeing Double
Using a digital twin can help manufacturers produce parts right the first time and enable high-mix, low-volume production. It may seem like science fiction, but technology now allows manufacturers to create or verify a digital twin using a real production part.

For example, Grale Technologies has developed what it calls Automated Integrated Metrology (AIM) technology. Using laser-scanning systems inside a CNC or 3D printer, AIM measures up to 800,000 points per second. It collects spatially registered data accurate to the voxel level (voxel is like a pixel, but for volume) to produce a self-reliant digital twin.

Based on the marriage of the CAD-CAM files, part and process data, AIM enhances information integrity and boosts quality assurance, a very comforting thought for “mission critical” parts like aircraft turbine blades and medical components. In addition, AIM technology can also enable single part lot sizes and mini-batches to become profitable, broadening its appeal.

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