5 of the Top Digital Twin Companies

Digital twin companies are in a prime position for robust growth. In 2021, ABI Research forecasts US$3.5 billion in revenue coming from digital twin software. But by 2030, we anticipate that number to soar to roughly US$34 billion as digital twin solutions are embraced across all verticals (manufacturing, industry, smart cities, etc.). This post will provide an in-depth profile of five of the top companies providing innovative software within the digital twin market.

Table of Contents

  1. ABB
  2. Ansys
  3. Autodesk
  4. AVEVA
  5. Dassault Systèmes

1. ABB

ABB claims to have been working with digital twins since the 1980s. For ABB Process Automation, its digital twin strategy is largely focused on a “performance digital twin” and is based on the ABB Ability System 800xA Simulator, which offers digital replicas of a plant’s control system.

Rather than use a hierarchy of folders and files for its digital twin solution, ABB believes it is more relevant to describe data based on perspectives. Each perspective defines a piece of information (e.g., a real-world object vs. something immaterial like a recipe or manufacturing order) and a set of functions to create, access, and manipulate the information. ABB refers to this as an aspect of the object. The result is a digital twin for real plant equipment (objects) that allows all relevant information (aspects) to be connected and available to plant personnel and systems.

ABB notes that it is increasingly seeing a transition into the realm of cloud-based engineering, digital marshaling, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and open standards within the digital ecosystem.

2. Ansys

Ansys has been providing digital twins since May 2018 when it launched the Twin Builder product. Soon after, Ansys established partnerships with key ecosystem participants such as Microsoft, PTC, Rockwell Automation, and SAP.

The focus of Twin Builder is digital twin authoring/creation, which covers building the virtual/physical model through validation and deployment. Features of the digital twin solution include application-specific libraries, reduced order models, and both embedded and third-party systems integration.

For situations where the simulation model doesn’t exist, Ansys provides high-level abstraction models with libraries of pre-built models for faster creation and deployment.

In terms of business model, Ansys Twin Builder customers pay a software licensing fee that varies based on the number of active users and the number of assets being modeled (e.g., based on the number of runtimes). The company also believes the use of edge will grow with the continued adoption of digital twins due to latency considerations, though it acknowledges this taxonomy could mean a form of edge cloud.

3. Autodesk

Autodesk has worked with digital twins since 2000, starting with a professional 3D modeling tool (Inventor). After that, the company added eCAD, Product Data Management (PDM), and PLM. This was followed by the addition of:

  • Factory planning, for which it is very important to have a real digital factory model.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) for virtual collaboration
  • Support for specific manufacturing modalities like metal cutting and 3D printing.
  • End markets like electronics (2 to 3 years ago) to get into specific workflows
  • A developer platform (Forge) for cloud-based design and manufacturing application creation.

The central piece is the 3D digital representation, which customers enrich with data all the time for applications like predictive maintenance.

Autodesk segments digital twins into several levels:

  1. The first is a 3D representation (CAD).
  2. The second is tying into historical data from work order systems.
  3. The third is the incorporation of real-time sensor data.
  4. The fourth is external and contextual data for self-optimization automation.

Most of Autodesk’s product offerings are available as standalone software, but increasingly they are also being bundled into what the company calls “collections.” The most relevant collection for this analysis is the Product Design & Manufacturing (PDM) Collection, which provides an integrated suite of applications and services for CAD, CAM, and CAE.

One of the unique aspects of the way Autodesk presents and offers its software is that most products are easily available online and billed on a monthly, annual, or 3-year basis. All subscriptions are cloud-connected and have supported real-time collaboration for about 7 years.

The primary verticals Autodesk serves include the following:

  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • In-building products (light fixtures, elevators, HVAC systems. Etc.)
  • Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC)
  • Media and Entertainment


AVEVA grew out of a U.K. government-funded program to provide engineering and industrial software primarily for process industries. In one way or another, the company’s digital twin heritage dates back as far as Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Invensys (2014), which owned the Wonderware software brand.

Within AVEVA, the digital twin spans two main areas:

  • Engineering: Caters to the design and build stage of the life cycle, including as-designed, as-built, and as-commissioned data for physical assets, in addition to simulation and optimization models
  • Operations: Connects data from sensors and other field devices in edge-to-enterprise Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and Supervisory Control and Acquisition Data (SCADA) applications, including operations information, asset performance, and value chain optimization

AVEVA’s main focus in asset-intensive industries such as oil & gas, power, chemical, Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG), infrastructure, and mining.

Several core software products comprise AVEVA’s digital twin position. They include:

  • AVEVA E3D Design for 3D design and modelling for chemical, O&G, marine, and power industries
  • AVEVA Operations Control for HMI/SCADA application development
  • AVEVA MES for operations, performance, and quality management
  • AVEVA Unified Operations Center for real-time operational performance visualization and management for infrastructure and process industries
  • AVEVA Asset Information Management to connect and visualize data from multiple sources
  • AVEVA Point Cloud Manager for 3D data capture and to manage the condition of assets throughout the asset and operations lifecycle
  • AVEVA Process Simulation (formerly SimCentral) to simulate process digital twins

There are many ways customers can use the software. For example, AVEVA Process Simulation clients can assign user roles so that engineers only see the details and information that they need for their job or level of expertise. This both increases data security and makes the product easier to use.

AVEVA Process Simulation also empowers clients to leverage IIoT data from processes, plants, and equipment to adapt and validate the simulations. All of this means that the simulations used to plan the process feed directly into the digital twins used to monitor and control operations in real time. Clients can then use the simulations to help remove bottlenecks, improve processes, and reduce downtime. AVEVA works with partners such as Microsoft to create AR/VR applications.

This graphic explains the three types of automated forklifts.

5. Dassault Systèmes

Dassault Systèmes has worked with digital twins for over 30 years, starting with the digital mock-up during the 1990s with Aircraft Digital Twins. The launch of its DELMIA product brand for digital manufacturing in 2000 added to its manufacturing processes. Today, DELMIA, like the rest of the company’s product brands, resides within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides role-based access for different employee groups (e.g., process planners, quality specialists, and machine programmers). This gives users the ability to collaborate remotely in real time.

In terms of the workflow, engineers can use CATIA or SOLIDWORKS (CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM) to generate virtual visualizations of any part they need to design, collaborate using ENOVIA (PLM), and simulate those parts on SIMULIA to ensure they meet functional requirements. Companies use DELMIA to connect the virtual and physical worlds by integrating modeling and simulation capabilities with real-world production. Moreover, DELMIA is used for manufacturing operations management when the design goes to production and through the extended supply chain.

Dassault Systèmes refers to its main focus in the world of digital twins as the Virtual Twin Experience, which provides an executable virtual model of a physical system that brings in learning and experiences taken from real-world processes to update the Virtual Twin Model in a closed-loop fashion. Importantly, the company goes beyond a product digital twin and extends across people, processes, and supply chains, with the latter being a more unique element compared to the rest of the market.

If you want to learn more about the top digital twin companies and how the technology is used in manufacturing applications, download ABI Research’s Industrial Digital Twins: What’s New and What’s Next research report. This content is part of the company’s Industrial & Manufacturing Technologies Research Service.

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