An Italian icon meets its twin

Imagine being able to simulate, test and optimise an Italian sports car before it rolls out on the roads.


“It’s about emotions. Maserati is something very special and the brand appeals emotionally to everyone. The combination of a beautiful and unique design and pleasurable road handling no one else can match,” says Jon Kristian Schill, Brand Manager for Maserati in Norway.

Since its establishment in Bologna in 1914, Maserati has played an important role in sports car culture and its development.

Digitalised entire production line

Today, the Maserati factory has moved to Grugliasco in Northern Italy and is a notch more modern than it was back in the early 1900s. For although the cars still exude exclusivity and Italian craftsmanship, the Ghibli model and the latest edition of Quattroporte are now manufactured by digital twins.

A technology developed by Siemens.

“The challenge was to find out how to best integrate two new production lines in an existing factory,” says General Assembly Project Manager at the Maserati Factory, Massimo Anfosso.

The classic Quattroporte model has been around since the 1960s. Photo: Maserati

Siemens opted in with solutions that could help Maserati design the products more efficiently. This allowed designers to develop, simulate and test the cars without having to build physical prototypes.

This has allowed production time to be reduced by 16 months, without having to relax the stringent quality standards. Maserati could therefore continue to compete in a market that is driven by constant efficiency improvement.

Lars Fossum (image) from Siemens says that a digital twin is a complete digitally rendered 3D model of a factory, including employees, robots and other manufacturing equipment.

Lars Fossum from Siemens says that a digital twin is a complete digitally rendered 3D model of a factory, including employees, robots and other manufacturing equipment.

“A digital twin makes it possible to predict the future. For example, we can see and prevent bottlenecks in production before the factory is built at all,” says Fossum and continues:

“We can simulate the entire production and see what consequences any changes may have.”

Jon Kristian Schill is Brand Manager for Maserati in Norway. Photo: Private 

Goosebump guarantee

Jon Kristian Schill says there is something special about Maserati.

“Maserati has a lovely ‘party trick’ – the sound! I’d dare say that no one beats the sound of a Maserati; it’s guaranteed to give you goosebumps,” Schill says.

He says that in 2017, a total of 50 new and used Maserati were sold in Norway and that the Levante (SUV) and Ghibli (sports sedan) models are the most popular – in addition to the classic Quattroporte model.

“Ghibli is the most fun and playful sports sedan on the market. It has a design that makes you stop and look, it’s unlike anything else and harbours real Italian emotion,” says Schill and continues:

“Quattroporte has been around since the early 60s and will always remain part of the history of Maserati, a very important vehicle in the model line.”

Explore the Maserati factory here:

Gathering data after delivery

The digital twin follows the product throughout the lifecycle, which is why products and production lines can be improved based on data from the actual use of the product. Knowing how the product is used can also allow you to offer new services such as predictive maintenance.

“Modern products have sensors that collect information that can be analysed and used to make decisions on product development or changes in the production process,” says Fossum.

“Digital twins can be used in absolutely every industry, also in new and untried areas. The technological development is rapidly evolving, and new applications are constantly emerging”.

One of the Norwegian companies that has used the same technology as Maserati, is Tronrud Engineering:

Simulates advanced machines

Oslo: Tronrud Engineering was early to embrace digitalising product development processes and investing in CAD solutions as early as the 1990s.

“In our industrial ecosystem, the concept of the digital twin is quite wide. We primarily use digital twins and models as tools for welding and mounting large frames in production,” explains Engineer and Industrial Designer at Tronrud Engineering, Tor Morten Stadum.

The company now wants to use digital twin technology to simulate how the machines work before they are delivered and used by the customers.

“Our models are extremely detailed with features on sensors, cylinders and other workpieces. We can run the digital twin program and approve the design in the programming. This offers considerable time savings in production,” says Stadum.

The company supplies machines for Norsk Titanium, which specialises in 3D printing of light metal titanium.

“Norsk Titanium uses a special welding technology to produce advanced physical titanium models for use in the aircraft industry. We have, among other things, delivered parts for 24 machines in a new factory in the United States,” he says and continues:

“The biggest benefits from using digital twins are shorter delivery time, greater design safety and ultimate delivery quality. Since prototypes can be tested virtually, it means money can be saved for us and for the customers.”