The 7 biggest mistakes and challenges when starting with Digital Twinning in industry

Digital Twins help in optimizing workflows in the development, deployment and life cycles of systems. Although the value of Digital Twins has become more obvious, we still see a lot of manufacturing companies struggling to get started. 

That’s why we want to discuss the 7 biggest mistakes and challenges we see companies struggling with.

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Virtual Commissioning with HMI on Digital Twin

How to get started with Virtual Commissioning

How to get started with Virtual Commissioning

In the development of mechatronics systems in industry, software and controls teams normally are the last step in the development cycle. The hardware is ready and shipped to location and then the software is connected and often last-minute changed to ‘get the motor running’. However connecting the software untested and late in the development cycle is time consuming, stressfull (the factory is waiting), and expensive. Virtual Commissioning gives you the opportunity to develop and virtually test your (PLC-) software in an early stage. A Digital Twin is the ideal tool for simulation and communication. It helps to divide the software development work easier, and do more parallel testing over multiple teams. This enables you to get earlier insights and detects issues and errors before they appear in the field. This results in doing virtual FAT and SAT tests. Saving on travel expenses, people, and getting systems more quickly up and running.

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Virtual Commissioning

Why start Virtual Commissioning?

The design of manufacturing systems is characterized by constraints in costs and time to market. The timeframe in which a system has to be developed is shorter than ever. The development of those systems consists of multiple phases such as mechanical/hardware engineering, electrical engineering, design and software engineering. In the past a system had to be built and set up to do integrated testing. If there where any errors or design problems the whole process would had start over again, leading to a longer time to market, wasting more resources and thus; costing more money. The indispensable step would be using Digital Twins for Virtual Commissioning.

During Virtual Commissioning, a virtual model of the manufacturing system is used for commissioning. The goal is to detect and correct early errors in the design and software. 


The step to virtual verification and commissioning is clearly very understandable. Building a digital carbon copy of your system gives you many advantages, also during installation and final testing. For example, you can find some of advantages in our Philips case study

From hands-on experience, we know that you can shorten the commissioning time by at least 25 percent, even when you are new to the technology and it is only your first swing.

That time reduction has two benefits. First, because of the fact that you can verify and check approximately 75 percent of the machine up front, the commissioning team will need less time on site. Second, the run-up time to production is shortened drastically because of parallel development. 

What are the costs of the on-site commissioning team per day? 

How many days can you win by using virtual commissioning? 

And how big is the benefit from that earlier uptime? 

Those are the questions that can be asked during the consideration of using a Digital Twin for Virtual Commissioning. Of course there will always be a delta with the real world, but there are a lot of benefits. That has to balance out the investment in software, the time to build the digital twin and, if applicable, the consultancy you need to hire. As said, 25 percent time reduction is a given, and it will only increase in your next efforts. 


An added bonus of Virtual Commissioning is that there is less travel involved also making it the more sustainable option.

In short, some benefits:

  • Communication – used to be on the same page with multiple stakeholders
  • Early testing – detect and reduce errors
  • Analyse the system and identify bottlenecks
  • Less disruption – Connect PLC’s, test early and run multiple test scenarios

Getting started? Click here!