The digital twin market is in a phase of active growth in 2022: it shows new practical implementations and is expected to grow to $73 billion by 2027. Its predictive abilities attract technological giants like Microsoft, Siemens, SMEs, and startups like Sight Machine, Cosmo Tech, and many others.
So let’s look at this technology’s benefits and its major application areas.
Digital twin technology: what is it?
A digital twin is a virtual model of any object, system, process, or person. It accurately reproduces the form and actions of the original and simulates what will happen to the original under certain conditions.
There are several benefits to this technology. Firstly, it saves time and money (if we are talking about complex and expensive equipment), and secondly, it eliminates any risks of employee injury and environmental harm.
The concept of digital twins has always been around; it simply had other forms and different names. For example, in mechanical engineering, the digital twin concept was the regulatory dossier (specifications and documents about product development).
In construction, the digital twin was represented by Building Information Model (BIM) technology, where the information coved all stages of the product life cycle from design to operation.
Nowadays, the concept of the digital twin is gaining popularity in other industries and incorporates technologies such as AI, IoT digital twin, big data, etc.
The basic concept of digital twin
The development of the digital twin depends on the areas of application. For example, an aircraft engine is a complex object, and programming its properties will require complex mathematical calculations.
On the other hand, automation of the supply chain requires fewer efforts and resources; here, each element of the supply chain is not complicated but must interact smoothly under extreme conditions.
Accuracy must be considered during development because preventing problems before the operation is the foremost goal of the digital twin.
As for the development stages, there are three main steps:
• Developers work with technical specialists on the customer side since they know what problems may arise during operation because they are well versed in the subject. Based on a mathematical description of the object and signals from sensors, they create a digital model of the future object. It is still a static version and just shows how the object is arranged, and its elements are located in space.
• Then the static model is transformed into a dynamic model: developers program all the object’s functional processes and develop as many object’s “behaviors” as possible, including both normal and emergencies.
• The process of creating a digital twin does not end here. The virtual twin continues to live in parallel with its prototype and develops along with it. Before making changes in the real system, they are tested on the twin, thus saving time and money.
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Benefits of digital twins
A study shows that the main driving factors of digital twin adoption are the need to handle massive data within a single organization, and the desire to optimize production conditions (hazardous working conditions more often require adopting technology).
Digital copies of enterprises can identify bottlenecks in components, systems, processes, and other assets, test potential solutions, simulate the results of interactions between components, and predict changes in operations. Eventually, improving the manufacturing processes.
This simulation saves the organization time, resources, and money needed to test working hypotheses in practice.
Other benefits of digital twin can include:
• Reduced maintenance costs
• Avoided accidents
• Minimized risks of unplanned downtime
• Increased productivity
Areas of Application
Digital twins are applied in various areas, including healthcare, manufacturing, and industrial plants.
In the medicine industry, the digital twin creates a simulation of the patient helping better study the disease and predict the development and course of the disease.
In addition, digital twins can test various medications and experiment with prescribed therapy, eliminating risks and medical errors.
2. Supply chain
The digital twin of the supply chain analyzes the impact of various factors on supply chain operations, from significant changes in demand to the internal processes of an individual plant.
AI algorithms and big data predict product flows, identify demand variability, and test various scenarios.
Digital twinning of supply chains facilitates real-time operational data from system elements: shipping schedules, vehicle locations, stock levels, etc.
3. Energy sector
The oil, gas, and petrochemical industry is a key source of market development. The use of digital twin technology in this industry helps enterprises reduce costs by 5 to 20%.
As in other industries, enterprises in the energy sector use digital twin technology for regulating engineering data, where all the information on different equipment is collected.
Digital twins in the energy sector help reduce the loss of time and the number of errors in maintenance, repair, and spare parts ordering. In addition to navigating technicians during equipment repair.
Digital twin technology improves soil fertility and crop yields. It helps to plan the sowing and planting of various crops, taking into account climatic conditions and other external factors with high precision.
Not only does digital twinning increase the profits of farms, but it also improves the overall condition of land suitable for agriculture and significantly reduces research costs.
The manufacturing industry shows the highest adoption rates of digital twin technology. This is not surprising because digital twins can dramatically optimize all processes in the value chain, simulate, and evaluate product features based on established product requirements.
With a digital twin, any components of the production line can be tested and optimized in advance: the mechanics, the electronics, the software, or the system’s performance.
If you want to know more about digital twins and how to implement them effectively, feel free to email us at email@example.com to get a free consultation with our experts in digital twin technology.
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