Microsoft and ANSYS Ink Partnership for Industrial Digital Twinning Solution
Today, we take a look at the intersection of digital twinning and the industrial internet of things, and how Microsoft and ANSYS are partnering up to dominate this space.
Microsoft has officially agreed to partner with engineering simulation leader ANSYS to provide more robust physics-based digital twinning solutions to industrial clients. Furthermore, ANSYS will also be joining Rockwell Automation’s Digital Partner Program, joining the likes of PTC, EPLAN, and Accenture to transform digital industrial solutions.
Digital Twinning and Industry
Digital twinning is an engineering simulation solution that allows engineers and designers to create virtual replicas of physical systems and devices. The concept is inherently similar to CAD in this way. However, digital twinning is distinctly different in two ways: its connectivity and its variance.
Digital twin technology falls under the larger industrial IoT umbrella in that digital twins are created from environmental sensors in IIoT systems and run real-time simulations. Unlike more traditional virtual designs, digital twins can be tested alongside the physical systems they’re mirroring, and allow engineers to perform predictive maintenance and test for faults before they even have a chance to arise.
Furthermore, the simulations run using digital twins can test devices or systems efficiency and receive real-time status updates on the device’s condition. In this sense, digital twin technology can be used to run hypothetical simulations of devices in addition to providing insight into a system in tandem to its actual running.
Orbis Research estimates that up to 85% of IoT platforms will contain some of digital twinning by 2020.
ANSYS (headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania) is one of the global leaders in engineering simulations, specializing in 3D design software and modeling systems. ANSYS calls their general strategy “pervasive engineering simulation,” which provides advanced simulations such as digital twinning to streamline automation and engineering processes and overcome design challenges.
A rendering of an example wind turbine digital twin on a PC. Image from ANSYS
Microsoft-ANSYS and What It Means
Recently, ANSYS and Microsoft agreed to a partnership between their complementary systems for digital twin solutions. ANSYS will leverage their proprietary Twin Builder solution across Microsoft’s Azure IoT services to provide Microsoft customers with greater simulations potential and reduce operational complications.
In a quote, Sam George, Corporate Vice President of Azure IoT at Microsoft, said, “Collaborating with ANSYS to extend Azure Digital Twins provides our customers with an understanding of their deployed assets’ performance by leveraging physics and simulation-based analytics.”
Rockwell's DPP Partnership
In addition to the Microsoft-ANSYS partnership, we can also observe more partnerships being formed as the number of enterprises and engineers begin to adopt digital twins into their engineering and asset management systems increases over time. One such example is Rockwell Automation’s Digital Partner Program, which seeks to provide industrial clients with a comprehensive suite of digital initiatives to increase efficiency and performance. As of writing, the DPP includes industry leaders such as Microsoft, ANSYS, Accenture, PTC, and EPLAN.
The program provides clients with the opportunity to consult industrial automation and systems advisors within their specialties (in technologies such as simulations, IoT, digital twinning, and others) to improve efficiency and adopt new digital solutions from Industry 4.0. The partnership also allows businesses access to hardware and software systems from suppliers within the partnership, as well as integration support and analysis.