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Bridging Virtual Models to Physical Systems

Silverstone event aims to bring engineers together from across UK industry to explore the mechanisms for building bridges between the virtual and physical worlds.


he requirements placed upon design and manufacturing engineers to shrink lead times from concept to production output are increasingly demanding across all engineering industries whilst the

regulatory framework for such segments as aerospace and healthcare technology continues to be as rigorous as it’s always been. Modern approaches make use of such design and production aids as simulation and additive manufacturing without stepping out of regulatory boundaries. Making use of such technology in a world that still expects qualification testing to take place on finished products requires solid bridges to be built between the virtual and the physical world. An example within the aerospace industry is the qualification of new materials and new structures. Whilst design simulation and fast prototyping on 3D printed components can provide good performance predictions, the final qualification can only take place on the final item that will be used on operating aircraft. The value in the simulation and modelling therefore is in the speed with which prototyping can take place along with the accuracy of final product performance predictions. This accuracy stems from the confidence gained from mapping real world results back to simulated results in several such models.

EXTENDING THE SCOPE OF TECHNOLOGY Testing is a key element in bridging this gap and both verification and validation can now be performed to some extent using software modelling, combined hardware and software simulation technology and virtual prototyping. However, these bridges need to be two-way and so subsequent physical testing models need to feed back their results into the virtual world to both validate the model and refine it.

❱ ❱ The gap between virtual models and physical systems is being squeezed in the highly regulated aerospace industry

Data acquisition, smart sensors and monitoring

software all play a vital role in bringing virtual and physical systems closer to each other. The scope of technology involved in bridging the gap between virtual models and physical systems therefore extends into the realms of test and measurement. Current trends in T&M in advancing Hardware- in-the-Loop testing to aerospace applications and improving the speed and volume of connectivity through the future use of 5G and following the concepts of Industry 4.0 provide improved capabilities for the precise and granular measurements needed to feed test results back into simulation and modelling software.

THE EIS AT SILVERSTONE To provide a cross-industry forum to explore these possibilities, the Engineering Integrity Society (EIS) has themed its Instrumentation, Analysis & Testing Exhibition this year on “Bridging the Gap between the Virtual & Physical Worlds”. Held annually at the Silverstone racing circuit in

Northamptonshire, this year’s event is scheduled to take place on April 2nd and will feature more than 65 exhibitors from the aerospace and other industries displaying a range of instrumentation, measurement equipment and modelling technologies. The event will also feature a number of mini seminars providing information and food for thought as well as open discussions on the challenges associated with modelling, prototyping and simulation technology. With considerable technology churn on the horizon across all industries as the Industrial Internet of Things takes hold, there will be greater pressures to adapt in order to stay competitive as lead times shrink and simulation and prototyping technology gain greater prominence. n

DAQ, Sensors & Instrumentation Vol 2 No. 1 /// 5

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