With the evolution of simulations and 3D tech, innovative technologies are starting to emerge. Digital Twin is an emergent technology gaining massive momentum in the industry. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution comes closer, digital twins’ technologies are maturing and evolving rapidly, increasing the utilization of practical applications of digital twins.
Moreover, with the incorporation of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Big Data, companies are converging digital twin technology with emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). As a result, it enables rapid design and development and allows smart solutions in production, sales, logistics, and the global supply chain.
Digital twins are a massive boon for rapid prototyping during the design and development of a product. Furthermore, due to the ability to enhance current manufacturing & product development, industries worldwide are incorporating digital twin technology in their business, product development, and even consumer experience. The current global digital twin market sits at 5.4 Billion US Dollars, but this slump is due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down many industries and production along with it. As a result, the world was simply not ready to adopt it rapidly.
However, with adaptation, digital twin technology is rapidly rising in applicability and usability and increasing accessibility even at the end-user side. With this in hindsight, researchers predict that the global digital twin market will cross 63 Billion US dollars by 2027. This estimation shows a high annual growth rate of 42.7%. Furthermore, it shows that the market, industries, and even consumers are moving towards the much-awaited digital transformation of Industry 4.0.
Read more: Reduce Costs with IoT and Digital Twins
To understand the practical applications of digital twins, we first have to understand the technology itself.
Know Your Technology: Digital Twins
Digital twins technology is evolving in both its technological reach/sophistication and its meaning. While the idea of digital twins is not new, it is undoubtedly going through a massive revelation in the industry currently. Furthermore, with technologies like 3D models, simulations are rising. As a result, digital twins are also gaining momentum in the industry.
The digital twin accurately represents a real-world physical object or an environment in a digital form. Do not confuse digital twins with 3D models or simulations. It is much more than that. Digital twins represent a subject (any object in the real world) not just in a static manner but in a dynamic way. It means that the digital twin will always represent the product/object throughout its lifecycle. The twin always reflects any change or modification on the real-world object or vice versa, in which the real-world object demonstrates a shift in the digital twin.
While 3D models just simulate some properties and structure of an object, the digital twin represents and accurately reflects all properties and characteristics of the real world. From design, materials, behaviors, and properties, the digital twin represents them all. So it becomes easier to reflect changes of both the digital twin and the real object. Furthermore, it remains accurate throughout the whole design phase, developmental phase, prototyping, or even after production for maintenance or repair, effectively reflecting all stages of a product.
Furthermore, unlike a 3D model, which is just an informational model, digital twins react and behave in a certain way similar to the real object in different environments and conditions. Due to this, the digital model is more dynamic and adaptive. Moreover, with AI at its core, digital twin technology enables communication, updating, and even learnability similarly to its real-world counterpart through the exchange of data among each other.
With technologies like AI with ML or data analysis, digital twins are becoming more accurate and smart. It also enables more flexible product phases for the design and development of a product. They help product developers explore different solutions freely without concerns relating to physical material costs or loss. Companies worldwide are rapidly adopting digital twin technology, enabling various applications and use cases to arm themselves with this type of revolutionary technology.
Here, we list some of these potential uses and practical applications of digital twins technology as shared by 13 different tech experts of the Forbes Technology Council.
1. To calculate product performance statistics and measures
Michael Campbell from PTC shares that with innovations enabling digital twins to be a comprehensive digital equivalent of a product or process in the real world, product developers or manufacturers can understand how the product is in use or performing. They can even track if the product or supply line may break down or is low in supplies. Campbell remarks that all this can lead to a better experience for the end consumer.
2. Simulating complex manufacturing scenarios
Eugene Khazin from Prime TSR remarks that digital twins have great use in the form of a precise virtual representation of a production supply chain. It will use advanced analytics and machine learning systems to predict and simulate different complex “what-if” scenarios without running these in actual production. As a result, manufacturers and production sites will utilize resources more efficiently and accurately to increase product quality.
3. Removing risks from different experimentations and analysis
Kathleen Brunner from Acumen Analytics Inc states that digital twin technology is a game-changer saying that it can eliminate the need to perform various experiments and studies with actual equipment or processes. Digital twins offline can enable multiple investigations of various complex and what-if analyses of different scenarios. Practical applications of digital twins allow optimization of other parameters and outputs with a digital representation or replica interface that responds to human and environmental inputs. These digital experiments significantly de-risks these physical experimentations by deeming them unnecessary.
4. Improving software products
Vince Padua from Axway explains that one way for the practical application of digital twins is to leverage actual customer usage data. This data can improve enterprise software products through its analysis. The data collection can include whether users are using a particular feature and how they receive notifications or collaborate with other users. Developers can create a digital twin of the customer experience using this data, while Artificial Intelligence can determine and predict the fastest and most efficient ways to solve various issues.
5. Real-Time information sharing and analysis
Gerald Rousselle from One Concern shares that digital twins can produce new functionalities since they represent the physical world in a form that computers can understand. He says that a GPS in mobile can be a digital twin of the natural world to provide accurate and real-time direction and navigations to your destinations.
6. Creating valuable digital assets
Ghufran Shah from Metsi Technologies Ltd explains that there is a lot of hype around cryptocurrency and non-fungible assets/tokens or NFTs. He clarifies that NFTs are a way to represent a physical asset such as a picture, video, or even a music clip in a digital format. Once a physical object is mapped into an NFT, a unique identity of this asset can now live forever within the blockchain. These assets can even gain monetary value and become valuable collectible.
7. Facilitating hybrid teaching methods
Zeng Fan from the University of Miami Herbert Business School says that the schools and universities are equipping classrooms to accommodate virtual conferencing tech for virtual teaching due to the pandemic. This technology is similar to one of the practical applications of digital twins, face-to-face and digital/virtual class deliveries. This technology can also be in use for recording asynchronous digital course content.
8. Improving vehicle safety
Stefan Kalb from Self Engine explains that it's costly to use real cars and crash test dummies to get actual life data about car crashes, potentially saving lives. If digital twins technology is used, it can collect sensor data from inside a car as in the real world. This data, over time, can go through analysis and study and perform numerous cost-effective and efficient car crash simulations. These simulations can provide data that can improve the safety of real-live cars.
9. Supporting sustainable clothing practices
Julia Dietmar from Vue.ai explains that an excellent example of digital twin technology can be a “digital passport” for different pieces of clothes that are manufactured. Such “passports” can contain various information such as product attributes, raw materials, factory information, and even previous owner information. It can prove to be very useful for sustainable clothing practices.
10. Collecting and providing input for databases
Vitaly Kleban from Everynet says that the lack of ML and data analytics data is a genuine concern, even putting multimillion-dollar investments at risk. But digital twins can serve as an interface between real-world hardware and sensors to collect data from the physical world. The practical applications of digital twins can even prove to be a key to providing enough data for ML systems.
11. Preventing sports injuries and enhancing athletic performance
Laurie McGraw from AMA explains that the NFL has a digital twin for every player through field cameras and sensors. It can recreate every move or body posture of the players. This level of sophistication has huge potential regarding injury prevention and even improving player and game performances. These types of data and information can prove to be very useful for more than just elite athletes.
12. Providing personal assistance
Kerrie Hoffman from getting Digital Velocity and Focal Point Business Coaching state that smartphones are already digital twins of every person. Smartphones are already acting as our digital twins since they provide various functionalities like “Swipe to Pay '' when entering a coffee joint or providing alternate routes when there is a traffic jam ahead.
13. Optimizing traffic flows
Joaquin Lippincott from Metal Toad explains that practical applications of digital twins in the transportation sector are enormous. With smart vehicles and smart cities, planning and real-time adjustments to traffic are possible, optimizing traffic flows and saving time. Such technology may be dangerous, but we can test, optimize, and later implement such technology much more safely with digital twins.
Oil and gas industry operators benefit from digital twin through a quick response when something goes wrong. With digital twin technology, operators can use data they collect from sensors on their equipment to create accurate models that replicate how these machines operate in real-time.
It means that if an anomaly occurs, there's no need for expensive trial-and-error or lengthy troubleshooting procedures - open up your model, and you'll know what went wrong. In addition to saving money by avoiding costly repairs, this will save time which means more production time!
This article describes how digital twins are helping organizations make sense of large volumes of diverse data sources—whether internally generated or provided by third parties—and use them effectively for making.
Emerging Technologies and Digital Transformation:
The new face of the oil and gas industry is quickly becoming digitized. Emerging technologies allow for production to become a cycle, automated, efficient, and streamlined - but this also means that you get to deal with operational intelligence.
Digital transformation will affect every stage of a company's lifecycle- from upstream operations to midstream labor-management down into downstream sales efforts. Even services in oil fields can be managed more efficiently digitally through Emerging Technologies. It will challenge operators to transform substantial data sets acquired in various processes into actionable intelligence.
Oil and gas industry operators benefit from digital twin through advanced analytics in their plant operations to improve the performance of assets, reduce unplanned downtime, and extend equipment life. In addition to these things, it also allows for a greater return on investment by identifying complex problems.
Digital transformation provides opportunities for improved return on investment by identifying quick fixes upstream, midstream, and downstream processes.
In addition, with the digital twin, a machine's maintenance and operational intelligence are never compromised.
With predictive analytics for maintenance and prescriptive analytics for operations intelligence, your business will always have the edge over any of its competitors by being able to fix problems before they even happen! In addition, the augmented reality provides tools that improve both productivity time and the effectiveness of the repair.
Digital Twin Mirrors Manufacturing Big Data:
The oil & gas industry is a massive business that generates an incredible amount of data. The oil & industry data will typically have quality reports, process control history, operational deviations and variations, product blends and formulas, etc., related to the production process.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that this sector had more stored data than any other business or industrial sector in a recent survey among US manufacturers.
The data generated by today's connected world comes in a wide variety of formats and needs to be aggregated, analyzed, and converted into actionable information.
The digital twin is a virtual representation of your production plant that can provide personnel with operational intelligence. This process starts by combining Big Data, statistical sciences, rules-based logic, and artificial intelligence into one easy-to-use package called predictive analytics.
Advanced machine learning allows the company to discover complex problems shaping up in their manufacturing processes and then determine ways to resolve them before they become costly.
The move from predictive analytic models will eventually lead manufacturers out on top because it utilizes big data effectively without adding too much cost or complexity along the way.
Digital Twin and Machine OEMs:
The relative benefits of the digital twin will depend on many factors, not limited to complexity and quality. As assets increase in sophistication, demand for a digital representation is bound to overgrow, too - with one difference: ubiquity across its lifecycle. The genuine virtual version will contain information about design as well as manufacturing and service life.
There has been some debate over who should be overseeing them: those with knowledge or experts in data science? Without answers, we won't know how best to utilize their potential capabilities
The oil and gas equipment OEMs (Original equipment manufacturers) are traditionally the best informed about information, such as engineering analysis data. However, end-users of these assets require this operational performance data to be successful in their jobs.
For a digital twin to work effectively, the manufacturer should share the information or offer an online service-based business to monitor and optimize digital and physical asset performances.
It includes servicing, optimizing operations with real-time data analytics, improving safety in complex environments like offshore drilling rigs, or carrying out hazardous tasks like handling chemicals at a refinery.
Implementing this type of initiative could be done through partnerships between IIoT software vendors that develop solutions to support these new approaches. In addition, there are emerging opportunities within large organizations that have been adopting advanced techniques across their business units.
Manufacturers of long-lifecycle products such as gas turbines and pumps are coming to understand that after-sale service is a significant differentiator for them. Implementing digital twin services will improve efficiency in the field, which can be very helpful when considering how many people it takes on average to change out oil filters at most factories worldwide.
By connecting remote sensors with real-time data analytics, companies have new opportunities not only have they have never seen before but also ones that were previously unaffordable due to cost considerations or complex engineering problems involved.
Manufacturers who implement this intelligent technology into their manufacturing process stand poised to provide better customer satisfaction rates and reduced downtime through continuous monitoring, thereby increasing profitability by improving quality control metrics.
Oil and Gas Industry Operators Benefit from Digital Twin & Asset Performance Management:
With digital transformation, oil & gas companies are redefining their business models and operations, but these changes would not be possible without effective asset performance management (APM).
APM can help oil & gas firms to increase maintenance efficiency and effectiveness.
It helps to avoid costly unplanned downtime while minimizing the need for scheduled downtime. It also improves safety by cutting down on risks of accidents.
With this strategic approach to managing assets in place, the company's regulatory compliance costs will also decrease as well as minimizing the risk of non-compliance which is always a top concern when it comes to environmental protection regulations
Data is a valuable resource, but it cannot be easy to manage due to the sheer abundance and variety of sources. Modern APM can alleviate this by collecting all information into one system for ease-of-use and quicker analysis periods so that valuable insights are never lost again!
Imagine life without oil & gas. It would be much less convenient, not to mention plain dangerous. That's why you should invest in the industry today!
Operators collect data and analyze it. The approach enables companies to develop new techniques with better efficiency, safety, yield rates, etc., leading us towards a brighter future for all involved parties in your investments.
The technology around collecting and analyzing data has enabled many improvements for those invested in this sector. This work can lead industries into their "brightest" futures through increased production flexibility or more efficient operations...and it only gets easier when people are willing to dedicate themselves fully toward these goals.
APM is a new way to monitor and manage oil production from unconventional sources. APM integrates into the larger automation environment, enabling companies to take advantage of shale oil and gas opportunities, ultra-deepwater, or subsea applications.
Accurate and timely data is the lifeblood of a company's success. In today's business world, oil companies have to constantly adapt their operations to improve efficiency and safety standards for employees operating on site.
It becomes difficult to comply with regulations across different sectors without an efficient way of collecting accurate information about all aspects, from production levels and equipment status up through downstream applications like environmental impact reports or health & safety assessments.
Midstream operators can now benefit from improved visibility into what goes wrong when things go wrong to act quickly. It is possible because integrated APM solutions aggregate real-time operational event intelligence at every level - including plants, refineries, pipelines, and transportation networks.
Fossil fuels have powered the world ever since the Industrial revolution. However, Digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and Blockchain are making the process of extracting energy more accessible, cheaper, more efficient, less risky - and cleaner!
Digital twin technology is a new, innovative innovation that has the power to change the way we work. For example, we can use this new technology to create digital replicas of our environments and assets – also known as virtual simulations – and have them interact in real-time with their physical counterparts.
It means you could simulate making any significant changes or decisions which would otherwise be costly!
Digital twins are changing today's way we operate by providing information about our environment and previously unavailable assets.
Oil and gas industry operators benefit from the digital twin significantly. The benefits include increased safety, improved production rates, lower maintenance costs, and reduced downtime. With these advantages in mind, it's no wonder why more companies are jumping on board the digital twin train!