According to a Cap Gemini research study of 1,000 companies in segments including life sciences, consumer, energy/utilities, and discrete manufacturing, 80% were employing digital twins. The reasons were varied: new product development, operational efficiency improvements, enhancements to worker safety, and better sustainability.
The Digital Twin Consortium, which promotes awareness, adoption, interoperability, and development of digital twin technology, notes that these virtual representations are beneficial because they accelerate a holistic understanding of the product, while enhancing decision-making and effective action. Real-time and historical data allow digital twins to represent the past and present and simulate the future.
Historically, digital twins have largely been used for mechanical parts and components. But as electronic systems continue to feature more complex compute platforms and more software, digital twins have become more common over the last several years. Used at the hardware and software levels, digital twins provide valuable insights that allow designers to examine performance issues, test-drive new features, and optimize different aspects of their product throughout the design and manufacturing processes. They can be applied to virtually any component, from the chip level through sub-systems and all the way up to the system level (like, say, a vehicle).
Silicon chip manufacturers are taking a cue from other manufacturers and using digital twins to accelerate production timelines. For example, Bosch’s 300mm wafer fab in Dresden, its first AIoT factory leveraging AI and IoT technologies, uses digital twins to simulate process optimization plans and renovation work without disrupting operations. Intel has transformed its microprocessor fabs with digital twins and has made its technology available to other manufacturers.
Electronic design automation (EDA) vendors have been offering solutions for design, verification and implementation of SoCs and multi-die systems by semiconductor companies. Synopsys is now expanding its solutions to address the needs of system companies by creating electronics digital twin solutions, providing a digital replica of an electronics system, hardware, software, and environment, used throughout the product lifecycle for software bring-up, power analysis, and software/hardware validation. With these digital twins, semiconductor and system companies can collaborate more closely, together ensuring that designs will work as intended in context of the full system.