Simulation experts in industry 4.0 must have a passion for digital twin technology today for industry research. Digital Twin simulation is entering mainstream use as more industries are adopting this technology. According to Gartner's IoT implementation 2019 survey, 75% of organizations already use Digital Twin or plan to in a year. Notably, all the companies willing to adopt Digital Twin are implementing Internet-of-Things.
Digital Twinning is not a new technology. In 2002, Michael Grieves of the Florida Institute of Technology introduced the concept of Digital Twin publicly. In 2010, NASA showcased the first practical implementation of Digital Twinning to improve the physical model simulation of spacecraft.
We can see Digital Twin has been around for two decades now. Yet, many businesses are confused about the value of Digital Twin Technology. In addition, many companies don't know the use of Digital Twin in the modern energy, chemical, and process manufacturing industries.
Many companies still don't know that Digital Twin can enjoin the disconnected processes cutting out manual efforts that can be time-consuming.
For instance, interns or low-level employees will still follow the outdated method to gather engineering information. They would walk around one department to another to collect data required for engineering research.
Many engineers use CAD and PLM software and other sources to collect data to make informed design decisions. A few engineers are lucky enough to use enterprise search engines to pull information from various departments from hundreds of documents, folders, presentations, etc.
Now that we are entering the age of automation, companies must adapt to cultural change and access the right technology. They need to integrate technologies like Digital Twin to help teams gain information without any hassle. They also need to save employees from the pain of surfing through numerous record systems.
There are other reasons to consider Digital Twin to accelerate business innovation. Here we've discussed 3 of them below:
1) The Rapid build-up and expansion of data:
The business environment of the energy and chemical industries is already volatile. On top of that, the decision-making cycle is in an array across these industries due to piled-up data sources.
System Digital Twins made for entire plants, or factory systems can rescue energy and chemical industries. A massive amount of operational data can be collected, organized, and analyzed from various devices and products.
Human decisions are not rational, even if we make sound judgments after weighing evidence and assessing probabilities. It happens because the human brain tends to simplify information processing. So, cognitive biases, including memory and attention biases, influence human decision-making.
System digital twins can eliminate human bias for critical decision makings. System digital twins can also provide a single logical view of the actual situation based on evidence, probabilities, and analytics.
It is also essential that you know your needs before adopting Digital Twin Technology. Therefore, you must ask these three questions to ensure your success with Digital Twin:
2) What type of analytics should Industry players seek?
The factory systems and manufacturing plants involve complex processes today. So, measuring KPIs isn't easy now.
The digital twin can resolve this problem by providing deeper analytics from factory systems and plants, taking multi-dimensional factors and non-linear trade-offs into account.
The digital twin can build an accurate understanding of the future based on historical and present performances data. The digital twin can recommend the best strategies that can maximize profitability for the industries. Next, the experts will need to assess each recommendation and its impact to make the best decision for the businesses.
Therefore, industries can use the digital twin technology as a supporting tool to aid decisions enabling improved safety, reliability, and profitability.
3) Digital Twin Model Utility across the entire lifecycle of the asset:
Manufacturers use digital twins differently at each stage of the product development cycle.
Initially, manufacturers start working with Digital Twin Prototype or DTP. Then, manufacturers use DTP to design, analyze, and plan out the process to predict the future shape of the actual product.
In the next phase, manufacturers use Digital Twin Instance or DTI. DTI is the virtual twin of a physical asset. Developers will use DTI to run multiple tests and determine how the product will behave in different scenarios.
The DTI stays connected with the physical asset throughout its lifecycle. As a result, developers will add more operational data to improve it over time.
In the final phase, manufacturers will use Digital Twin Aggregate or DTA. Manufacturers use DTA to cross-examine the physical product, predictions, and learning based on the collected data from the previous phase.
People from engineering, operations, supply chain, shop floor even board room can look inside the assets and processes of the Digital Twin technology at every stage.
Companies integrate AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, etc., into the system with high hopes. They do it because they believe that digital transformation will cut out all the manual workload. However, when they realize that a lot of the work still depends on the human end, they get shocked.
Industries may have entered the automated age and have innovative IoT solutions at their disposal. However, automated systems cannot replace the human touch in many critical areas of business. For example, humans still need to implement and monitor automated systems in manufacturing plants.
Automation cannot replace other tasks like enhancing product design, building strategies, and growth roadmap, decision making, communicating with stakeholders, applying creativity to solve problems, etc. These areas will continue to need human intervention.
Companies need to set clear expectations when moving forward with the digital transformation of the assets.
The purpose of digital transformation and digital twin is to make the technical aspects of the job easier. In addition, Digital Twin technology will provide you the intelligence to help you focus your hard work on beneficial outputs.
Companies building Digital Twin Technology today are the pioneers of shaping the agile and intelligent industries of tomorrow. So, they need to develop the right digital twin platforms to leverage the full potential of digital transformation to create an exemplary model that others can follow.
The first steps will always be challenging. You can expect objections and hurdles to come your way. However, all these troubles are manageable if you know the proper ways to manage them.
Here is a brief guideline to follow for successful digital twin adoption in business:
To sum it up, digital twin adoption has the scope to attract more stakeholders' buy-in. Companies can show them the data-driven rewards based on concrete analysis instead of flawed predictions. So, the stakeholders will always have the know-how of the direction they are heeding with you.
"The true benefit of a digital twin: it gives you business intelligence to make better decisions in the future. It doesn't eliminate or minimize the work you're doing now, but it fundamentally changes what you're going to do next." - Former chief executive of Cambridge City Council, Andrew Grant
As we deduce the statement of Andrew Grant, it's a life lesson that industries have learned the most brutal way around the world after the Covid-19 shock. Thus, many enterprises are seriously considering the concept of Digital Twin and thinking big to expand it.
Companies are now interested in optimizing business operations based on the real-time insights gained from manufacturing plants and product use. As a result, they are more focused on satisfying orders, resolving root causes that are hindering growth, and maximizing factories' performance based on solid predictions.
We have already entered the age of automation as the 4.0 industrial revolution has begun. Today, companies maybe just interested in predictive maintenance. However, the use of Digital Twin Technology will expand where it will be integrated not for products but into manufacturing processes and entire factory systems.