Dutch Unit040 and American game engine giant Unity Technologies have agreed on a strategic partnership in which the latter will market and sell the digital twin toolbox from Eindhoven on a worldwide scale. This deal will move Unit040 closer to its ambition to become a global player in the digital twin market.
Unit040 was founded in 2006 by five students from Eindhoven University of Technology. During their internships, they noticed that many companies had difficulty explaining their products, both internally and externally. They decided to visualize the operation of devices and technology. Initially, their services consisted mainly of making animations with little intelligence. But gradually, they started to link their digital models to software. Around 2011, the first virtual prototypes emerged.
Four years ago, Unit040 decided to invest heavily in the development of a platform that helped customers build their own digital twins. The resulting Prespective toolbox facilitates the construction of twins for complex systems, ranging from civil engineering projects and high-tech machinery to entire production facilities. With it, Unit040 has successfully rolled out projects at twenty companies, mostly in the Netherlands. Prespective is built on top of Unity3D, the engine from the American company Unity that powers games like Cycles, Trinity and Unruly Heroes.
In a recent event at the Brainport Industries Campus, Unity’s technical product manager, Edward Martin, explained how digital twins help the engineering and development process of complex systems. “Really any kind of object that involves geometry, motion, controls and interaction with people,” said Martin. “The more complex a system gets, the more you end up with emerging behaviors and unexpected outcomes. Particularly when you get large teams of people who are working on developing something. The more complex a system becomes, the harder it is to wrap your head around the complexity, resulting in delays, cost overruns and not even being able to achieve targets.” With all the competition, Martin argued, digital twins are helping companies achieve a better outcome. “This is really what Unit040 is doing: providing a framework for a digital twin.”
Now, Unity (headcount: 4,000) and Unit040 (24 employees) are taking their partnership to the next level with a worldwide sales agreement. The target markets are manufacturing and automotive. The CEO and co-founder of Unit040, Jorick Huizinga, adds: “Not only is Unity3D the most powerful game engine in the world, Unity’s innovative character and global foothold also makes them a very compatible partner. I look forward to a fruitful collaboration.”
“Unity wants to make headway in the manufacturing industry,” says Daniel Fanego, responsible for business development at Unit040. “With this deal, our sales capacity will increase by seventy people.” Fanego expects the current team of 24 to almost double over the coming year.