Nominal digital twin for new-generation product design

Haizhu Zhang, Rong Li, Guofu Ding, Shengfeng Qin, Qing Zheng*, Xu He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With the increasing competition of the manufacturing industry, it is essential for manufacturers to develop a new (or next)-generation product based on their prior product design, product user experience, historical performances, etc. The digital twin (DT) is believed to be a suitable technology to support product lifecycle management with excellent data capture and analysis capabilities and product family design capabilities. However, it remains a challenge to synthesize and incorporate the data and information captured from previous generational product development and stored on their individual digital twin instances (DTIs) into next-generation product design. To address this problem, this study proposes a new nominal digital twin (NDT) concept as a collective digital representation of the current generational product digital mockups (DMUs) and all individual DTIs of the built products in services for new-generational product development. NDT is first defined here as a prototypical and synthesized digital twin (or digital representation) of multiple individual digital twins corresponding to multiple physical products in use or previously used. By analyzing the data and information on their DTIs, NDT can enable the establishment and evolution of a more precise approximated model of many related family products used previously or currently in use in various application scenarios and environments in the physical world. This paper also demonstrates how a NDT model can be first established in the product design phase from various digital mockup models and enhanced later with a stochastic forest meta-model based on Bayesian optimization connected to DTIs. With this NDT model, collaborative exploration for optimal design solutions during new-generation product design and improvement can be performed on NDT through multi-objective optimization, which in turn can make new-generation product design easier and quicker. As a primary verification of the feasibility of our proposed approach, a case study has been carried out, and the results have well confirmed that the NDT-based new-generation product design approach is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317–1335
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number3-4
Early online date25 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Cite this