Industrial companies must be able to easily create and evolve flexible, dynamic value chains. A flexible value chain requires companies to connect cross domain processes and systems, a task that has always required customizations in the past. Today, there are new approaches like digital threads and digital twins that can help connect siloed domains by leveraging digitalization.
Connecting simulation to reality with digital twins and digital threads
Digital twins, in short, are a simulation of a physical object – a digital replica of a real thing. In a factory setting, a digital twin can be built for any of your machinery or assets. Using a digital twin, you can start to simulate experiences and learn more about your machinery before running any actual processes. This opens up a whole world of use cases, like predictive maintenance – using your digital twin to predict when and where a machine may breakdown, before it does.
While digital twins capture a 360° view of product and process, enabling virtual simulation of the entire value chain, digital threads tie all product and process data together, from requirements to design all the way through manufacturing and to the consumer.
Doing this can be challenging and complex from two perspectives: technically and process-wise. From a technical standpoint, implementation is challenging because it requires engineering and IT experts. From a process standpoint, these experts also need business/domain knowledge to successfully connect their tech to their processes and products. But there is an easier way to create this digital thread, thanks to low-code development. Low-code development helps companies support the idea of citizen developers, those who may have business knowledge but not the technical expertise.
Low-code development: an out-of-the-box solution
Low-code application development platforms can aid in the creation and maintenance of digital threads and digital twins of products and processes. With a drag-and-drop interface, low-code development allows users to take advantage of simple building blocks for visual development. By leveraging this accessible software, both IT and citizen developers can easily create software applications leveraging data from different processes and systems, and easily tie them together into digital twins and digital threads.
Developers can then take this one step further and use low code to aid in the implementation of industrial IoT solutions, like predictive maintenance, to fully take advantage of your digital twins. Companies can take data from the real world, for a closed-loop optimization of their product, and process digital twins and digital threads. For example, by connecting real (IoT) data to their engineering/virtual models, companies can improve their product and process design and performance. By adding AI and machine learning, companies can predict manufacturing problems before they occur and even improve their virtual model in near real time – the so called executable digital twin.
Siemens’ Mendix low-code application development platform lets you create solutions to realize the full potential of digital threads and digital twins by integrating Siemens Xcelerator applications across the broader enterprise application landscape.
Learn more about low code and digital twins
Read this article from CIMData, “Creating a Digital Thread Using Low-Code to Enable Digital Twins” to learn more. Ready to get started? Learn more about Mendix and become a maker.
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