I work for Hexagon, a multinational manufacturing solutions provider that uses data from design and engineering, production and metrology to make manufacturing smarter. We work with some of the world’s biggest companies, with our technology touching 95% of all cars, 90% of all aircraft and 85% of all smartphones produced around the world, every year.

As such, I know from experience that – contrary to most people’s assumptions – unlocking advances in the fast-moving world of tech does not just mean introducing better tools. Just as, if not more important, is the effective use of the data that both feeds and results from those tools, and proper collaboration around it.

In my industry’s case, this can affect a product’s sustainability, the users’ experience, and play a critical role keeping us safe. If insufficient or inaccurate data is used as input to design a car, for example, or the engineers responsible for different parts of the vehicle do not effectively share their data, the resulting vehicle would be unsafe, no matter how advanced the programme that designed it.

Manufacturing and the metaverse

There are already processes and tools that enable this sharing and analysis of data to a certain extent, of course, otherwise the manufacturing industry would not be able to produce the incredible machines and products it does. However, the pressures currently facing the sector are compounding. Compressed innovation cycles, the need to operate and produce more sustainably, and a continuously challenged supply chain are feeding the need to harness more and better data in new ways.

I think the metaverse, integrated with Digital Twins, provides that opportunity. Both topics have been increasingly hyped over the past couple of years, attracting interest in every sector, from gaming, to broadcasting. Manufacturing isn’t necessarily top of the list when people think of agility and cutting-edge technological trends, but the opposite is often the case. Digital Twins were first introduced in the manufacturing sector. Essentially, they bring realism to the digital world, combining virtual (manufacturing) simulations with real-life information.

Feeding that systematically-collected data, enhanced with AI insights, into a metaverse-like collaboration platform means learnings from all stages of a product’s lifetime can be collated and layered. Insights from design, to production, to operation, can be used together to improve current and future designs in real time. Engineers of all disciplines will be able to use those insights to remove defects and optimise every aspect of the technology, from cost, to sustainability, to safety.

Replacing uncertainty with insight



To give you a few examples, scaling this metaverse approach across teams will allow engineers with different specialisms to together explore complex ‘what if’ scenarios, such as: “If I change this car body from steel to carbon composites, how much lighter will it be, and will it still be crash-safe?’ or “If I change the shape of this jet engine blade, how much fuel can we save?”

While these may seem like simple input-output questions, they traditionally involve many different siloed roles, which a Digital Twin, embedded in the metaverse, will help bring together and answer.

In manufacturing, the backbone technologies to the metaverse, including AI and Digital Twins, have been at our fingertips for years, but I believe their full potential will only be achieved when we integrate them into the metaverse. With these combined tools, manufacturers will gain unprecedented insight to every element of production – from machine, to product, to human – how every tweak and upgrade will affect every other element, immediately.

What could your teams achieve, if you could turn ‘lessons learned’ into ‘lessons averted’?


By Parth Joshi

Parth Joshi | Chief Product Office and Chief Technology Officer, Manufacturing Intelligence division

Parth Joshi joined Hexagon in September 2021 as Chief Product Officer and Chief Technology Officer (CP&TO). He is responsible for Manufacturing Intelligence’s product and technology organisations and leads the Design and Engineering, Metrology and Production Software, and Metrology Devices business units, as well as Volume Graphics.



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