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Electronic Components Future Semiconductor

The future of semiconductor manufacturing, is it digital twins?

What is a digital twin?

The concept of digital twins has been around since the early 90s. Since then, it has been further developed and become a time and money saver for many manufacturers.

The purpose of a digital twin is to mimic a physical system exactly. It gives those using it the ability to simulate what they want to do, and the twin predicts the outcome.

These twins are not to be confused with a simple simulation or a digital thread. A simulation can only replicate the outcome of one process, while digital twins can run multiple simulations for different processes. A digital thread, although similar, is more a record of everything occurring in a product or system over time.

There are several varieties of digital twins, all with different use cases. The purposes range from basic, with component twins, to more complex process twins which can represent an entire production facility.

The timeline

Semiconductors can take around 3 months to manufacture from a silicon wafer to multilayer semiconductors. Not only that, but semiconductor fabs themselves take years, and millions in funding, to build. Because of this, it is hugely time-consuming to open any new facilities and start production there.

The issue that arises, then, is there would be time between demand increasing and when it can be met. Alongside this, any new facility will need trained staff and assurances any new equipment is working.

Digital twins give manufacturers the ability to test the workings of a facility before production begins. This may not seem like a big deal but it means that any mistakes or issues can be detected much earlier, and won’t affect the real production.

Even in a working fab, a digital twin can conceptualise new processes, without interrupting production. Finding working systems before changing the physical process can save time and money too.

And if you need skilled employees? No problem. By combining digital twins with training software or VR, you can train new staff before they touch the real equipment. Employees can then be qualified to work in a facility with no prior experience and no disruptions to production.

Sustainability

An alternative concept is using digital twins to become more environmentally friendly. Users can test ways to cut emissions and energy use to reach sustainable goals. Any problems or errors can be discovered before implementing them in real time. One study found that 57% of organisations agree digital twins are pivotal to improving sustainability.

Something to be mindful of is that it needs to be up-to-date to mirror the conditions of the physical version. This is especially important with system twins and process twins, where several interlocking systems work together.

Advantages

With the huge amounts of data that can be collected through a digital twin, products can be developed much further. Since digital twins offer so much insight into potential outcomes, it can boost a company’s research and development much faster.

Once a product has been developed, a digital twin can monitor the manufacturing process, overall increasing efficiency. Once a product reaches the end of its life a twin can help decide the best outcome for it too.

A safe prediction

Digital twins can simulate processes and products to help manufacturers make assured choices. For those looking for electronic components, Cyclops Electronics is the best choice. We have an extensive stocklist of day-to-day, obsolete and hard-to-find components, and a dedicated sales team to source every component you need. Contact Cyclops at sales@cyclops-electronics.com or call us on +44 (0) 1904 415 415.

 

Image Source: SumitAwinash

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