Digital twin technology is becoming more and more mainstream, particularly when it comes to the maintenance and monitoring of complex mechanical systems such as aircraft.

GENEX, an EU-funded startup, has announced the creation of a new digital twin framework that will be used to create “the next generation” of safer and greener composite aircraft.

Launched on Sept. 1, 2022, GENEX is a 42-month, 5.7 million Horizon Europe collaborative research project seeking to develop an end-to-end digital twin-driven framework for optimized manufacturing and maintenance of next-generation composite aircraft structures.

According to the company, “enhanced computational models will embed interdisciplinary knowledge of aircraft components and manufacturing/repair processes to support their optimization as well as enable data management and monitoring across the entire life cycle of the aircraft’s operation.”

GENEX will really ramp up in the New Year. It is projected to run through 2026.

According to a company press release about the initiative, “The core of the GENEX project is based on three [digital twin] blocks focused on different facets of the aircraft use life, which, eventually, will be integrated into a fourth to form the multidisciplinary digital twin.”

Each block is as follows:

     • Block 1 – Manufacturing Process Digital Twin: An automated tape laying (ATL) process, coupled with hybrid-twin simulation methods, will be developed for the eco-efficient and advance manufacture of recyclable thermoplastic composites.

      • Block 2 – Product Usage Digital Twin: Data- and physics-based machine learning (ML) algorithms for damage detection and location, combined with high-performance computing (HPC)-based multi-physics and AI-powered digital twin tools for fatigue life prediction.

      • Block 3 – MRO Digital Twin: Augmented reality tools, together with novel laser-assisted methods for surface cleaning and monitoring, smart monitoring, and in-situ tailored heating of composite repair blankets, will be further developed to provide additional assistance in manual scarf repair operations, increasing the reliability of the repair process, while supporting the modification and virtual certification of MRO practices.

    • Block 4 – Cognitive Digital Twin: Combined integration of blocks 1-3 for the realization of a digital twin-drive framework implemented into a common industrial internet of things (IIoT) platform.

“The aviation industry is facing a two-fold challenge — targeting carbon neutrality while also adopting the digitalization of next-generation aircraft,” Dr. Calvo-Echenique says. “In GENEX, we hope to provide the needed technological impulse to optimize composite components manufacturing, and operation and repair processes using digital twin strategies.”

Other Industries Benefiting from Digital Twin Technologies

As you can see from the GENEX project, AI and digital twinning are revolutionizing many industries, chief among them transportation. Cognitive digital twin technologies are proving invaluable for the predictive maintenance of high-value military vehicles, airplanes, ships, and even passenger cars. Digital twin solutions like those developed by CarTwin extend the lifespan of cars and other vehicles by monitoring the vehicle’s “health” through its “digital twin.”

Basically, CarTwin can provide diagnostic and predictive models for all vehicle systems for which data is available (either directly or indirectly) onboard the vehicle.
Virtually any part of the vehicle that has sensors or that sensors can be developed for can be “twinned.” These data sets are then enhanced and augmented with design and manufacturing data that is already available by the OEM.

Primarily designed for use in fleets of vehicles, in combination with powerful AI models, CarTwin predicts breakdowns, monitors and improves performance, measures and records real-time greenhouse gas emissions, which reduces expensive maintenance costs and avoids lost revenue associated with fleet downtime.

Rohit Mahajan is a Managing Partner at BigRio and the President and Co-Founder of Citadel Discovery. He has a particular expertise in the development and design of innovative AI and machine learning solutions for clients in Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Automotive, Manufacturing, and other industry segments.

CarTwin has leveraged AI and Digital Twin technologies to create a digital, cloud-based clone of a physical vehicle designed to detect, prevent, predict, and optimize through AI and real-time analytics. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas or if you have further questions on the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact us.