Digital Twin Technology

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Digital Twins

A Digital Twin (DT) is a fully functional digital instance (proxy) of a physical entity. This could be a machine, equipment or a complete plant. This twin digitally represents all features and aspects such as mechanical, electrical, process, time-historical data, etc. A Digital Twin demonstrates the concept of bridging the physical & digital assets with the aid of sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The result is a comprehensive data-driven digital model which helps to increase the reliability and efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of its physical counterpart. This digital environment with live streaming data opens up whole vistas of new possibilities for AI-based data analyses in simulated digital scenarios. The digital twin is also one of the top 10 strategic technology trends in leading manufacturing organizations worldwide

A Digital twin works when it accurately represents and simulates the physical entity. It provides not only the design data, operational conditions etc. through its sensors and linkages, but also enables simulation and predictive analyses of asset performance issues that are even yet to occur.

A digital proxy can talk to other proxies and form a whole network of intelligent devices in a digital eco-system enhancing the accuracy of predictive models. Findings from these predictive and prescriptive simulation models can be applied to physical assets to deliver increased productivity in real life. These intelligent virtual assets enable intelligent decision-making for operations, maintenance and optimization over the period.

In a nutshell, digital twins can be effectively deployed to improve products, manufacturing processes, equipment, or system across any industry.

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Types of Digital Twins & Uses

There are different types of digital twins that can be deployed. Though the core idea of a Digital Twin is enabling real-time operation monitoring and simulation of performance, there are also various other associated use cases based on the type of the Digital Twins.

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Basic Digital Twin

A Basic Twin is a digital representation of the physical entity through dashboards or two-dimensional (2D) engineering diagrams that are digitally created and connected through IIoT to live stream sensor data (data flows in one direction only). This twin can reside in the form of mobile apps, PC apps, or browser-based and used to monitor live-status with alarm notifications. It is used to represent and monitor the function and health or condition of the physical entity using virtual models. The data received can be presented as KPIs, status reports, trends, charts and alerts.

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Operational Digital Twins

An Operational Twin is a visual representation of the physical entity through 3D-Computer Aided Design (CAD) engineering models that are developed and connected through IoT to live stream sensor data (with bi-directional data flow). This twin enables users to interact and remotely control the operating parameters of a physical object, equipment or assets. Hence these applications are process intensive and demand a high degree of security, which naturally are PC-based apps.

This type of digital twin provides the look and feel of its physical entity, but also provides the ability to control from afar. In the post-COVID world, the operational twin provides a great advantage to understand and address operations and maintenance issues from any remote location in real-time.

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Intelligent Digital Twins

An Intelligent Twin is powered with Data-Analytics, AI, and ML. They are designed to predict and forecast operational and maintenance insights through real-time simulations and present them through dashboards, heat-maps, and other visual means of visual representation of intelligence.

These twins are extremely useful for reliability focused organizations where outages and performance shortcomings need to predicted well ahead of time and addressed comprehensively. Insights from intelligent twins for similar machines can be obtained to enhance prediction and troubleshooting.

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Immersive Digital Twins

An Immersive Twin is a believable virtual reality representation of physical assets created using 1:1 scale 3D model with realistic texturing, lighting, fluid & physics simulations for the immersive (VR/AR/MR) environments and optimized for real-time photorealistic graphics rendering. Such carefully crafted DTs simulate the user tele presence with highly immersive 360° field-of-view and First-Person spatial experience. When connected through IIoT, these twins can assist in monitoring and controlling physical assets, though it’s not the main purpose. Immersive twins enable the transformation of the workforce by transferring several years of knowledge and experience in a very short duration there by saving years of training time. PWC’s latest study indicates that VR training is 4 times faster and more focused compared with conventional class-based training approaches and 3.75 times more emotionally connected with a 40% improvement in employee confidence.

Benefits of Digital Twins

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Make use of existing sensors and data

The conventional use of sensor data in factories is to monitor and control process operations. The data available on the entire performance history of the entity is underutilized. The concept of DT exploits the fullest advantages of these invaluable assets of any organization.

Efficient Product Lifecycle Management

Efficient Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

DT provides a holistic view of operations in real-time with intelligent suggestions, which enables collaborative decision-making with different groups. Since this model is based on Data-Analytics, Machine-Learning algorithms, and Artificial intelligence, the DT continues to learn, increases prediction accuracy and improves the physical entity’s efficiency throughout its lifecycle.

DT Simulations vs Conventional Simulations

DT Simulations vs Conventional Simulations

Conventional simulations use theoretical models to imitate processes in a simulated CAD environment which assists engineers in manufacturing design, performance analysis, and testing new concepts. These results are quite theoretical. on the other hand, Digital Twins use the Live-Streaming IIoT data from the physical equipment’s sensors to monitor current performance and provide accurate predictions which directly affect its physical counterpart.

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Better Return on Investment (ROI)

DT increases efficiency during design and build stages by reducing time and errors in the construction sequence. It enables engineers to virtually commission the digital twin, learn lessons, and avoiding expensive mistakes during actual commissioning of the physical assets. Plant reliability and availability is enhanced through assisted production and preventive/predictive maintenance strategies. DTs can be engaged in virtual operations, maintenance, and reliability training to advance in-house expertise. These advantages effectively deliver lower overall costs and yield improved Returns on Investment (ROI).

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COVID -19 Impact

The ongoing pandemic has made a revolutionary shift in the way we manage people, processes, and physical assets. Social distancing requirements has eliminated the ability to perform work in conventional interactive ways. Enabling digital twins allows these assets to be monitored, managed, improved, or restored with minimal physical interventions that are safe and less disruptive to the organization.

The Digital Twin-Strategy Guide

The business and manufacturing environment has changed dramatically during the past years and business leaders need to make strategic moves toward investments in disruptive technologies. The conventional wisdom that drives investment towards upgrading machinery, improved controls and cost-cutting will not be sufficient for achieving sustainable business growth in the future. Intangible and intelligent digital assets and intellectual property (IP) effectively deployed into manufacturing and business processes are critically important to deliver increased all-round efficiency, superior customer experience and significant competitive advantage.

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Bold strategic decision-making can happen only if CEOs and the Senior Leadership have radical thinking and end to end understanding of Industry 4.0 and DTs. They should also develop capabilities to prioritize the implementation of appropriate use cases with measurable benefits and financial returns. Mere adoption of this technology alone is insufficient. It requires using the right expertise, choosing proper use-cases, blended with imagination and pragmatism to make success a practical reality. One of the biggest advantages during the development and implementation of DTs is that physical assets and the activities on the shop floor remain unaffected. This seamless adoption is a sure winner for the organization.

Typical roadmap for your First Digital Twin


Engage all Stakeholders

Involve and engage all stakeholders under the leadership of the IT Department.


Develop Implementation Strategy

Avoid silos! Identify and involve the right people with the right skill-sets and attitude.


Deploy Expert DTPartners

Identify and deploy experienced expert Digital Twin partners with a strong industrial background and integrate them inside the value system. Extensive hand-holding during all phases of implementation is crucial.


Step by Step Implementation

Implementing everything in one go may not be an effective strategy. Begin Piloting and implementing a phased approach with clear milestones and a step-by-step implementation plan before going Mainstream.


Develop KPIs & Quantify ROI

Develop KPIs, track milestones, and quantify ROI through periodic reviews. Ensure familiarization and training of all stakeholder groups to maximize the success of the implementation.


Assess and Report

Assess and report the effectiveness of DTs and document benefits achieved in comparison with existing legacy systems in your organization.


Build on Successes

Build on the successes achieved and identify more challenging and rewarding opportunities for implementing DTs in other parts of your manufacturing value chain.


Stay Abreast of Innovation

Stay abreast of technological innovations and approaches in the market and meaningful changes were required to your roadmap.

  • Problem Statement Analysis

  • Solution Design

  • Freezing Scope of Work

  • Budget & Schedule Estimates

  • Agreement & Inputs Gathering

  • UI & UX Design

  • 2D & 3D Asset Creations

  • Application Development

  • Test, Debug and Delivery

  • User Acceptance Tests

  • Documentation and Knowledge Transfer


How Do We Execute

Engage Fusion VR for your Digital Twin Projects

The key to success is not just the advanced hardware or software technologies deployed, but a clear identification of the right use cases and careful crafting of effective solutions that increase employee productivity, reduce costs and deliver superior returns.

Our passionate and committed Process, HSE and Maintenance engineers and Extended-Reality experts with decades of world-class experience have a keen understanding of the challenges, risks and opportunities in your industry. Partner with Fusion VR right away to learn more about our secret recipes, and transform your company’s future in this 21st century!

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