ThinKing September 2019: Digital twin ensures validated components



With SIMUTENCE GmbH software it is possible to predict precisely the manufacturability of composites and hybrids and, as a result, to economise on expensive demonstrators and to expedite processes.

The Karlsruhe-based mechanical engineers keep an eye on the entire process chain so that data from every single step can be used for further design optimisation. This enhances the predictive accuracy of the digital twin. Neutral interfaces can be used to dock the SIMUTENCE software to existing applications. Furthermore, one does not need to purchase expensive isolated solutions which can only be used for a special case.

The Development Agency for Lightweighting Baden-Württemberg presents this innovation in the September 2019 edition of the ThinKing. Leichtbau BW GmbH uses this label to showcase excellent lightweight technology products or services from Baden-Württemberg every month.

At a glance:
- Validate manufacturability and avoid expensive trial components
- More precise simulation: data are passed on within the virtual process chain → this means that the results are more accurate
- Improved state-of-the-art simulation methods based on cooperation with the KIT
- Software as add-on – can be docked to existing software in the company
- Neutral interface: process simulation and structure simulation do not, for example, have to be performed with the same software

“We work on simulation methods with the aim of producing digital twins of fibre composite or hybrid components”, explains Dominik Dörr, one of the three founders of SIMUTENCE. “We are not interested in just offering isolated solutions only for very specific cases”. “Our primary aim is to cover the entire virtual process chain – for example, including all the steps from the simulation of the forming process through the warpage to structure simulations. This is especially important for large-scale production”, adds Benedikt Fengler. It enhances both prediction accuracy and simulation precision. This includes, for example, the application of design optimisation for the topology of rib structures, the layup sequence of laminates or local patch reinforcements. “The data are always passed on at every step of the way within this virtual process chain and this enables us to predict the manufacturability of a component with great precision,” says Fengler.

Validating production in advance digitally
But why take the roundabout way using a digital twin? “This approach saves on expensive demonstrators and facilitates faster production because you don’t first have to manufacture a component physically and then test it. We use our simulation tools to test the components digitally in advance and then to optimise the process and the component’s design or geometry”, says Dörr. “The company is a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). In cooperation with the KIT, it is now possible to produce enhanced state-of-the-art simulations”, says Dörr.

SIMUTENCE's software solutions focus on compatibility and integration with its customers’ existing software packages. “Our software is conceived as an add-on, which means that no further software needs to be purchased and a company’s existing applications can continue to be used. We offer the software in the form of licenses or as a service,” says Fengler. The SIMUTENCE team also advises its customers on the interpretation of simulation results or provides support with the necessary material characterisation.

SIMUTENCE is a spin-off company of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and was founded by Dominik Dörr, Dr.-Ing. Benedikt Fengler and Dr.-Ing. Martin Hohberg from the Department of Lightweight Technology at the Institute of Vehicle System Technology (FAST).