Digital Twins in Focus with SAP and ANSYS Partnership
Felix Nilsson posted on June 05, 2018 |

Not long ago, a collaboration between business software giant SAP and the simulation market's shining star, ANSYS, would have been considered an anomaly. But times and technology quickly change the state of the world, and today a partnership between these two companies is a reality. Through this collaboration, SAP gets the opportunity to embed ANSYS simulation solutions for digital twins into its manufacturing and asset management portfolio.

The first solution launched within the framework of the partnership is called "SAP Predictive Engineering Insights enabled by ANSYS." This solution will allow customers to study engineering-related effects in advance, through simulation. The solution will be run on SAP's cloud platform, with the goal of enabling those who manage industrial facilities to optimize operation and maintenance through real-time technical insights.

"The result should also, in its extension, lead to reduced product cycle times and increased profitability," claims SAP.

Eric Bantegnie, Vice President & General Manager at ANSYS, reasons along the same lines. "The merging of physical and digital worlds disruptively affects the way in which products are manufactured, placed on the market and operated," he says. “By utilizing the insights produced by digital twins, users will be well positioned to exploit the breakthrough this technology brings. The SAP/ANSYS solution will also help drive innovation.”

ANSYS solutions can not only simulate products and facilities during the product development phases, but also in manufacturing and—more importantly in SAP's eyes—even when the products or facilities are in the hands of end-users.
ANSYS solutions can not only simulate products and facilities during the product development phases, but also in manufacturing and—more importantly in SAP's eyes—even when the products or facilities are in the hands of end-users.

ANSYS and SAP announced this news at the ongoing global user event SAP Sapphire. SAP is running the project under the "Intelligent Enterprise" demo, which involves solutions for linking technology and operational manufacturing.

A Milestone for SAP

Due to its dominant position as a supplier of ERP and business IT solutions, this is a milestone for SAP. The company does not develop any of its own simulation solutions that can measure what ANSYS does in product, production and maintenance development.

As an example, by simulating the operation of an oil plant, based on ANSYS solutions for digital twins, operators can test which flows in the most complex structure are most efficient to run under specific conditions. Through this type of simulation, it is possible to iterate and select a line of operational benefits.
As an example, by simulating the operation of an oil plant, based on ANSYS solutions for digital twins, operators can test which flows in the most complex structure are most efficient to run under specific conditions. Through this type of simulation, it is possible to iterate and select a line of operational benefits.

ANSYS solutions can not only simulate products and facilities during the product development phases, but also in manufacturing and—more importantly in SAP's eyes—when the products or facilities are in operation in the hands of end-users.

Take an oil refinery as an example. By simulating the plant in operation, based on ANSYS solutions for digital twins, operators can test which flows in the most complex structure are the most efficient under specific conditions. Through this kind of simulation, organizations can iterate and optimize, realizing a number of operational benefits. These simulations use the enormous amounts of data generated by sensors in the assets, and let engineers gain valuable insights that can improve a process and provide a basis for improving future similar processes.

Additionally, one might consider developing hybrid models that leverage machine learning with multi-physical simulation models to accurately predict why a process in a facility may fail after it has been implemented.

Replacing Scheduled Maintenance with Needs-Related Maintenance

Linking these insights and data into business processes for controlling and managing plant facilities with other relevant SAP software—including SAP's Enterprise Asset Management, Asset Strategy and Performance Management, Predictive Maintenance and Service and SAP Asset Intelligence Network—is an important step forward in the business system giant's digital twin strategy.

"Combining the physical and digital worlds can sharpen competitiveness," says ANSYS chief Eric Bantegnie.

From a lifecycle perspective, companies can benefit from real-time insights by tracking how assets are designed, built and operated throughout the lifecycle of the product.

With the new combined SAP/ANSYS solution, "SAP Predictive Engineering Insights enabled by ANSYS", time-based maintenance of industrial assets is replaced with predictive maintenance. The machine or plant components can tell ‘themselves’ when they become worn to the point that they are likely to break.

Through the cloud, users hope to get a correct insight using a combination of real-time and predictive analyses and ANSYS Twin Builder to build, validate and distribute digital twins.

"Capturing Value Throughout the Entire Life Cycle"

Using ANSYS technology, which covers a product or plant's digital twin to simulate behavior in different environments and stresses, the system is intended to predict problems before they occur. The prediction is based on information from physical sensors and physics-based analysis based on ANSYS simulation models to provide results in 3D visualization.

"The synthesis of the digital and physical asset will enable companies to capture value throughout their product lifecycle," says Hala Zeine, of the Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing department at SAP.

"The synthesis of the digital and physical asset will enable companies to capture value throughout their product lifecycle," says Hala Zeine, from the Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing department at SAP. “This solution helps equipment operators and service providers predict and improve asset performance and reliability with technical insights. A digital twin that merges technical models, manufacturing details and operational insights, including financial information, is unique in the industry.”

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