As we know by now, a digital twin is a clone of a real-life product, only in a digital form – or simply the virtual model of a physical, real-life process. It is an image which has been connected with a real-life object by means of a steady flow of data coming from the sensors which enables the image to represent the status of the object in real-time. A more advanced version of it would not only serve to represent the current or real-time state of the physical object, but also record and present us with the historical digital profile of the particular object. With the advent of the Internet of Things, Digital Twin Technology has not only gained popularity in the IoT applications but IoT has also enabled its implementation way more cost-effectively.
IoT has added affordability to the Digital Twin Technology
A majority of IoT platforms are set to adopt this technology since Digital Twin Technology sets the foundation for Internet of things to work effectively. The fact that the manufacturing majors such as GE and Optima have been implementing Digital Twin Technology on a large scale with the help of Internet of Things is a testimony to this. While GE employs a digital environment to get information on the configuration of each wind turbine before construction, Optima has been digitally mapping and assessing its transportation system with this technology implemented by Siemens.
Using the cloud services, it has become easy to build a virtual replica of every product or asset which offers fruitful insights using the operational data. This is the reason why this technology is here to stay and most of the manufacturing organisations would, sooner or later, like to consider it to reap the benefits.
How Digital Twin Technology benefits the Manufacturing Industry
Digital Twin Technology has specific advantages when it comes to the manufacturing installations and processes that require close interaction between humans and machines. There are two key ways how Digital Twin Technology has proved promising for the manufacturing businesses:
It enables Visualization
If you were to measure human senses in bandwidth, sight is the highest. As a result, human decision-making is reliant on being able to see the situation in full and take necessary action. This is why factory floor managers usually had a floor overlooking the factory floor.
The manufacturing installations and machines of the modern-day world have become as complex as it gets. And what generally happens in this case is that for these complex machines, the decision making typically becomes reliant on the data sheets or basic charts made by the computerised systems feeding the relevant data. For making important business decisions, being able to visualise can take the manufacturing efficiency to the next level.
A digital twin, in such a case, helps the manufacturing businesses avail the relevant data in real-time and an exact visual replica of the product, adding a visual dimension to the entire process of decision making enablement.
It facilitates Collaboration
Digital Twin Technology does not only allow the business decision-makers to visualise the product and the situation, it also makes it possible for a large number of stakeholders or individuals to see and track the manufacturing installations at a global level. This has helped eliminate the glitches such as the delay in reporting the alerts and issues to the management and the other team members, making it possible to get expert opinions and remove the scope of potential single point failure because of the human errors. Equipped with the ability to view and discuss about the machine installations collaboratively, the manufacturing teams are enabled by this technology to make the processes and systems more efficient while foreseeing any potential problems well in advance to avoid wastage of time and materials on building the physical models in the wrong direction.
So, if you are a manufacturing business considering to implement Digital Twin Technology, you must consider the things you need to know about your manufacturing operations that could allow you to drive the decisions. This allows you to build an understanding on what kind of data needs to be captured and accordingly, what kind of visualizations needs to be implemented. A good example of incrementally built digital twin technology is Google Maps which matches the location and traffic data with more details and accuracy as compared to how it did a few years ago.
The benefits of Digital Twin Technology include sustainable competitive advantage made possible by product improvements, improved efficiency and speedy time-to-market, all making it well-worth its implementation to your manufacturing business. Starting with a small project, small manufacturing businesses can consider to continue investing in this technology based on the ROI achieved in each phase.