Page 10 - AAA OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2019 Online Magazine
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the parts and systems it uses to manufacture
        commercial and military airplanes by using the
        digital twin asset development model. Digital
        twins, he added, would be the “biggest driver
        of production efficiency improvements for the
        world’s largest airplane maker over the next
           GE Aviation, which has been a pioneer in the
        use of digital twin concept in aviation, produces
        digital replicas for every engine it produces,
        thus giving the company an electronic trail for
        the engines.  So precise and true to life are the   industry when it was tried out successfully on auxiliary power units.
        company’s digital twins of its jet engines that   Companies are now working to see how much of an impact it will
        the Federal Aviation Administration allows it   have on other components.
        to use digital analytical techniques to comply   Digital twins are part of Airbus’ digital transformation efforts as
        with regulatory requirements, thus eliminating   well. The plane maker has used the concept to design aircraft too
        the need for physical inspections.           executives have also been discussing their use of digital technology
           During a flight with a GE engine, sensors   to design and manufacture airplanes at least since 2017. Logistics
        on the engine collects information about its   is another area that can benefit greatly from the technology: Airbus
        performance. This is then downloaded and     uses digital twins to coordinate the 12,000 partners supplying the
        transmitted in real time to the digital twin so   parts that make up an A319.  Siemens has introduced digital twin
        that the electronic version is always up to date   capabilities for components such as its electric propulsion units
        with the actual engine. This allows the company   for manned and unmanned vehicles.
        to monitor performance and predict mainte-
        nance issues, thus reducing maintenance      Military Applications
        costs. The company has also helped develop   Digital twinning is catching on in the military side of the industry
        the first digital twin for an airplane’s landing   as well. In June this year, James Geurts, assistant US Navy (USN)
        gear. According to Bill Ruh, former CEO of GE   secretary of the navy for Research, Development and Acquisition,
        Digital, the company has more than 1.2 million   revealed that the US Navy is creating digital twins for an increasing
        digital twins currently in operation, with most   number of components and systems. The service is also consider-
        of them in aviation and energy sectors.      ing the use of the technology or simultaneous operations aboard

        Growing Use of the Technology                  “The digital twin concept is critical,” says Donald McCormack,
        Apart from building digital twin components   executive director for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. “To pace
        for its GE60 engine family, GE has teamed up   the threat, we must have an agile testing methodology, which allows
        with Infosys to reduce flight delays with the   for the complexities presented by new automation and technolo-
        help of aircraft landing gear prognostics. The   gies. We need to understand how we test in the future with artificial
        companies achieved this with developing a    intelligence.”
        digital twin of landing gear, one that applies to   Defence major Lockheed Martin has developed digital twin
        both the nose and main landing gears as well   technology for its Aegis combat system as part of its efforts to
        as to the hydraulic system that drives the gear.   create digital replicas for its products, processes, and tools. When
        Infosys created the digital twin by first studying   developing its unmanned Orion spacecraft, the company relied on
        the failure modes of the landing gear, and then   its “Digital Tapestry” to create a digital twin as part of its efforts to
        identifying 34 locations where sensors could   ensure that the spacecraft was performing as expected.
        be applied to provide data for early detection   The US military has the world’s largest aircraft fleet, one that rivals
        of wear or malfunction. Using the data from
        these 34 sensors, Infosys created a digital twin
        of each aircraft’s physical landing gear.
           Data is collected an average of once per
        second from each of the 34 sensors on the
        landing gear during takeoff and landing. The
        data is stored and then analyzed to diagnose
        anomalies to determine fixes for any issues.
        Actual data is then continuously compared with
        predicted data based on the digital twin, with
        deviations being used to modify the prediction
        models for required maintenance intervals.
           With  the  technology  producing  excellent
        results on engines, it surprised no one in the

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