As one of the world leading Digital Twin software companies, we help a lot of our clients to start with virtual prototyping. In the talks we have with new potential clients, there is always the question: ‘What are the benefits of virtual prototyping?’.
Let’s start with the basics: What is Virtual Prototyping?
Virtual prototyping is the process of first making a digital prototype of a machine or system prior to building a physical one.
For this blog post, we’ve asked 20 of our clients that use Prespective for Virtual Prototyping about the benefits they experience. Out of the answers, we’ve made a top 5 top of the biggest benefits that our clients experience when using virtual prototyping:
- Better aligned communication
- Agile development process
- Less resources wasted
- Less travel time for stakeholders
- Virtual commissioning
1. Better aligned communication
When you’re developing a system or machine, things can get really complicated. The development teams are often composed of experts who are all experts in their own field. When something has to change to prevent a mistake, the experts of that specific field often have to explain the what, why, & how of the change to their peers. By using a virtual prototype, the experts can directly showcase the change and outcome in a virtual environment. This creates a common understanding and makes complex matters more insightful.
2. Agile development process
Agile iterative development cycles are common practice within software development. This way of working makes the development process clearer and more manageable. Virtual prototyping makes iterative agile development cycles possible within system development.
Iterations are much more quickly made using Virtual Prototyping. As it allows you to use “virtual steel”, you have yourself a new prototype with more or less the push of a button. This enables a team to work with more prototypes in less time, resulting in a more efficient development process.
3. Less resources wasted
Design mistakes go hand in hand with system development. If for example a sensor is positioned incorrectly in the design stage, the system development team will eventually find out when they build the physical prototype. The problem here is that when they find out, they have to re-engineer the part and rebuild that part on the physical prototype.
For a sensor this will probably only require readjusting a bracket, but mistakes also are made with more critical parts of a machine or system.
By first making a virtual prototype, the system development team can find and solve up to 80% of design mistakes early on in the development process. Because of the digital nature of the virtual prototype, those mistakes can be redesigned early without wasting any resources. You can even test your (PLC-) software on a virtual prototype.
Video: ”Festo modular production system” Technical University Eindhoven (Build with Prespective)
4. Less travel time for stakeholders
This might seem like a far-fetched benefit of using virtual prototyping, but also to our surprise, a lot of our customers mentioned this benefit. Because of the digital nature of a virtual prototype, stakeholders don’t have to travel to a workshop to look at a physical prototype.
The customers who mentioned this, told us that virtual prototyping really helped them during the COVID-19 pandemic when the offices were closed down. Their system development teams could continue their development from the safety of their own homes.
5. Virtual commissioning
The virtual prototype lays the perfect foundation for virtual commissioning, since there is already a digital version of the machine, system or factory. With virtual commissioning you can use the digital twin to test updates and changes before implementing it in the physical environment. This will result in less downtime and cost reduction. (look out for our next blog that will be devoted to Virtual commissioning.
The 5 benefits of virtual prototyping we described in this blog were most mentioned by our customers. The final outcome of all these benefits is a more sustainable system development cycle. This sustainability will result in a faster development, resulting in a short lead time and costs reduction through early error detection.
If you want to know how Philips used Prespective for Virtual Testing? You can read the user case here.
Do you also want to start with Virtual Prototyping, but you don’t have the inhouse knowledge to build your own Virtual Testing twin? Our expert Prespective team can help you!
Author: Omar-Karim Ajouz