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The future of manufacturing: Why you can’t have a digital twin without simulation

02 March 2023

In this Q&A, Zohair Mehkri, Director of Digital Twin at Flex, chats to DPA about the biggest improvements to simulation software technology over the past few years, the benefits of remote connectivity and networking, and what the future holds for simulation.

There is sometimes confusion between simulation and digital twins, what’s the difference?
It’s very common for there to be some level of confusion between simulation and digital twins. Simulation is the foundation for digital twins. You can’t have a digital twin without simulation. 
Simulation replicates the physical environment in the digital world, based on data sets that relate to every aspect of the situation. A model will require information on a variety of things, including the composition of the walls, sunlight levels, temperature, how energy levels of workers change over the length of a shift, power consumption, etc. It then creates a model based on that data. 

The digital twin is built on simulation data but, importantly, is connected to real-time data sources in the physical environment. This connection means information can flow in either direction to create a cyber-physical system, where a change in one affects the other. 

The power of a digital twin is when the system receives information from the physical environment, does calculations, optimisations and improvements, and then sends them back to the physical environment. Each system becomes a twin of the other: the physical and digital talk to each other in a continuous loop to unlock even more precise and accurate modelling. Add artificial intelligence on top of that, and you have a supreme level of optimisation.

Read the full article in DPA's March issue

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