Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 24

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Catering to
Customization
How the virtual twin speeds manufacturing in
the age of personalized products.
M
ade-to-order footwear, clothing, and jewelry. Patient-specific
replacement joints and medication
tailored to their age and weight. Bespoke bicycles,
and office chairs that fit like the proverbial glove.
These are just a few examples of the customized or personalized
products that consumers have come to demand in recent
years. How are manufacturers able to fulfill these expectations?
In addition, how can they keep the final price from being driven
upward by the immense complexity and supply chain disruption
that product customization should cause?
I used the word " should " just now because product customization
is nowhere near as difficult or costly as it once was.
Thanks to the digital technologies that are powering Industry
4.0, manufacturing has become more flexible and adaptable
than ever before, making small batches of " mass customization "
just a normal day on the factory floor.
Twinning is Winning
When it comes to manufacturing, virtual twins are one of
the most important tech innovations to hit the manufacturing
sector. As its name implies, a virtual twin is a digital replica
of a physical object or real-world system. They can be as
straightforward as a dimensionally accurate static 3D model
of a manufactured component or assembly, but they can offer
the most value as a dynamic representation of complex
systems or processes that responds to new data in real time.
This comprehensive digital copy of a process, product, or
service, contains everything - or at least everything relevant
to its owner - about the twin's real-life counterpart.
This includes geometric and dimensional values, but there's
also design, engineering, and procurement information,
24
manufacturing or process-related data, performance statistics,
product behavior in the field, and much more. These
digital records are (or can be) constantly updated throughout
the physical object's lifecycle, giving the manufacturer
unprecedented potential for design optimization, preventive
maintenance, and continuous improvement, not to
mention unfettered views into product usage and customer
satisfaction.
As suggested, a virtual twin might be nothing more than a
digital copy of a machined or 3D-printed part, but it can also be
used to replicate a tractor or machine tool, a factory floor, or
even an entire city. However, you define it and no matter which
parts of it interest you, the virtual twin brings immense value to
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Tech Briefs, July 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov2
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