Companies are under pressure to increase productivity in the development, manufacturing and operation of new products without impacting quality. New engineering processes are being created to enable product design data embedded in digital models to be connected to the physical product. This Model Based Engineering (MBE) approach provides the platform to develop Digital Twin technology.
The challenge of bringing together data from different sources, with different formats, across multiple departments is not insurmountable; just not well practised. If this can be achieved, there are opportunities to bring together design, manufacture and service data. If there is greater understanding in the desired performance of a product, the ability to maintain and efficiently operate enables the use of Through-life Engineering Services, and with it the ability to understand and generate new business or service models.
The Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) demonstrator brings together two of the three areas; design and manufacture. With a focus on Composite manufacturing which is intrinsically a high variability process, operations require careful tuning of process parameters by highly skilled engineers to meet product quality requirements. This can impact production costs and ramp up rate which is critical in meeting customer demand. The ability to keep producing consistently high-quality parts highlights the requirement on the manufacturing process to produce parts that are aligned to the design.
The demonstrator developed in conjunction with Ansys, Beckhoff and the National Composites Centre looks at the prediction of the stresses within a high pressure mould to understand any deformations that may be a result of the manufacturing process. By comparing the final manufactured piece to the digital design any potential deviation is reviewed. This gives improved insight to the manufacturing process and enables operators to understand challenges such as the number of times a mould can be used or modified.
The demonstrator highlights the need to bring together and to digitally connect design and manufacture by capturing, curating and manipulating data to enable the delivery of consistently high-quality products; reducing waste and increasing productivity. It also investigates the re-use of moulds through modifications and their impact on the final product.