Industrial devices and machinery have become so complicated that even software designers are struggling to keep up with the development. However, software testing tools have also developed. Nowadays, testing can be carried out on a digital twin quickly, reliably and safely.
First there was the iron bar, an entirely mechanical tool. Gradually, electronic control and power transmission were introduced. The development of technology has made today’s machinery significantly more complex: at their core, machines are the same as they always were, but with an ever-increasing amount of automation, user interfaces, control systems, electronics, sensor data and cloud technology built on top of them.
Traditional machines have made way for intelligent machines. In addition, the development is accelerating rapidly towards intelligent machines and devices that are interconnected and can communicate with one another, for instance, in a forest, mine or cargo port.
Industrial devices and machines are increasingly equipped with ever more complex software and control systems.
As aptly depicted in digital twin developer Mevea’s illustration, the stacking of technologies has led to entities that leave software designers scratching their heads.
Software testing with a virtual device considerably speeds up product development
Traditionally, software testing has had to be carried out on the finished, physical machine in its actual environment. Unfortunately, this means testing is slow and the product’s finalization is delayed, which is not in the customer’s interest.
Technology has already, however, revolutionized software testing. Although the software and electronics that are being tested are real, testing them on the actual physical machine or in the machine’s actual environment is not necessary. The machine and its environment can be virtualized and tested in a modelled environment using a digital twin.
Testing software using a digital twin offers numerous benefits, one great example of which is time savings: since a physical machine and it’s environment are not needed testing in the digital world can accelerate the process even by months compared to before. In the best-case scenario, this can significantly speed up the product’s time-to-market.
Safety is the priority
Testing carried out on a digital twin also demands considerably less space as the digital model is run in office conditions from a desktop computer.
And last, but not least: safety. Software testing is considerably safer when you don’t need to move large machinery for testing purposes. If something goes wrong – a massive machine crashes into a wall, for instance – nothing actually breaks and no lives are in danger.