Introduction to Digital Twins through CAD models

In an ever evolving world, the industry passed through different phases, each one more technologically advanced than the previous one. Now that the world is in what is called “industry 4.0”, a new notion arises: the digital twins.

That word can have many significations or definitions depending on where and how it is used. The main idea being to digitalize an entity with the goal of creating a perfect version of that entity, but on a computer.

The more that notion gets popular, the more important it is to teach students about it so that they can be prepared to hear about digital twins along their studies.

In the University of Liège, the choice was made to give an introduction about digital twins to engineering students in first bachelor. The course that was chosen to host that introduction is about graphic communication. In that course students learn to read technical drawings and create 3D models and simulations using a CAD software.

As 3D modelling is very often used for the creation of digital twins, a course module has been created to illustrate how CAD models can be the foundation of a digital twin. Different principles are given and students can link them to what they can already do with a CAD software.

WorldSkills Leipzig 2016 – Competition Day 3 Andrew Craig (Mechanical Engineering CAD)

To anyone that doesn’t use a CAD software, that module is still relevant as it gives an overview of the use of those tools in the creation process of digital twins without requiring an extensive knowledge of CAD software.

This module ends with some examples showcasing different digital twins. Those examples are fairly different to each other’s and apply to different branches of engineering (mechanical, biomedical, aerospace…).

After watching that module, you will know how to improve a CAD model with the right data to make it as close to reality as possible. You will thus understand the importance of data handling in the creation of a digital twin. You will be able to ask yourself the right questions in the right order before creating a digital twin and have a better idea of what a digital twin can look like and how diverse that technology can be.

The University of Liège (French: Université de Liège), or ULiège, is a major public university of the French Community of Belgium based in Liège, Wallonia, Belgium.


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