Digital twins to support the supply chain

CEA-List is combining its technological expertise with its partners’ knowledge of the supply chain to bring the advantages of the digital twin to the industry’s logistics and transportation challenges.

Supply chains under increasing pressure

With ever shorter delivery times, tougher just-in-time requirements, and increasingly demanding end customers, supply chains are under constant pressure. Now more than ever, flexibility and optimization are the industry’s watchwords—a supply chain needs to be able to reorganize quickly and easily to keep costs down.

The problem is that there are currently no satisfactory tools for assessing up front the advantages, risks, and costs of reconfiguring the supply chain. CEA-List and its partners decided to fill this gap with digital twin technology.

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a digital replica of a system such as a plant, a piece of equipment, or a process. It resembles its real-life counterpart very closely, not least because it is fed with data from the real world. So, a digital twin can test and validate new scenarios quickly, without risk, and at lower cost than physical testing. This also results in more informed and rational decision-making prior to taking action in the real world.

Digital twins have gained significant traction in design and production management for the Factory of the Future. But they have yet to gain a foothold in logistics.

A full-scale demonstrator

In 2020, CEA-Tech Hauts-de-France decided to develop a functional digital twin specifically for logistics use cases.

The demonstration platform, named Sonaris (Digital Optimization Solution for Integrated Supply Chain Analysis and Redesign), is designed to handle large-scale use cases that replicate realistic situations. It will provide a set of models representative of specific scenarios companies can imagine themselves navigating.

Six partner companies are involved in the project alongside CEA-List, which participates in developing the digital twin and the human-machine interfaces.

CEA-List presented the initial results of its work in early June 2021: three models simulating port operations, warehousing, and the management of massive logistics flows. In addition to the modeling, innovative interfaces specific to each of these activities were developed to make it easier for operators to use these tools.

Our answer


  • Logistics, transportation

Technological expertise

  • Modeling
  • Development of human-machine interfaces


  • Digital twin
  • Papyrus, software and systems engineering environment
  • Augmented objects with haptic feedback for tangible interaction with the digital twin


  • LOG’S logistics solutions provider
  • Lille port authority
  • Dunkerque port authority
  • Industrial partners Nidaplast and Forest Style
  • TGI Maritime Software

Project timeline

  • 2020-2022

LOG’S, a project partner from the outset

LOG’S has been a partner on this project from the very beginning. This customized logistics solutions provider quickly saw the value of combining its business skills with CEA-List’s technical skills to find innovative solutions to its logistics challenges.

LOG’S and CEA-List launched the Digilogs project together in 2019 to develop a digital twin for warehouse management. Based on Papyrus, CEA-List’s software and systems engineering environment, the first results were conclusive: SMEs can use the digital twin to quickly determine the human and material resources needed for a logistics service—and accurately estimate the associated costs.

Buoyed by the success of this first project, CEA-Tech Hauts-de-France launched a new project in 2020 to develop a larger-scale demonstrator. LOG’S has of course joined the new project. In time, it will help the company respond to its customers’ changing needs and improve the efficiency of its processes.

The demonstration and mathematical optimization approach will reassure our customers of our ability to optimize human and material resources while keeping the current business climate in mind.

Benjamin Laffineur

Head of Innovation — LOG'S