A DigitalTwin (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 the whole vistas of new possibilities for AI-based data analyses in simulated digital scenarios.
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 on the 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 any manufacturing process, equipment, or system across any industry.
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 DT.
A Basic Twin is a digital representation of the physical entity through dashboards or 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.
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 physical assets. Hence these applications are process intensive and demand a high degree of security, which naturally are PC-based apps.
An Intelligent Twins 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.
An Immersive Twins 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 business and manufacturing environment have changed dramatically during the past years and business leaders need to make strategic moves towards investments in disruptive technologies. The conventional wisdom that drives investment towards upgrading machinery, improved controls and cost-cutting will not be sufficient towards 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 and significant competitive advantage.
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.
Involve and engage all stakeholders under the leadership of the IT Department
Avoid silos! Identify and involve the right people with the right skill-sets and attitude
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.
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, 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 the effectiveness of DTs and document benefits achieved in comparison with existing legacy systems in your organization
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 technological innovations and approaches in the market and meaningful changes were required to your roadmap.
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 FusionVR right away to learn more about our secret recipes, and transform your company’s future in this 21st century!View Our Projects Enquire Now
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– Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Govt of India
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– Singapore Development Centre, Yokogawa Engineering Asia Pte Ltd
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– Global Training Solutions Centre, Yokogawa Engineering Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore
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- Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, India
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- National Institute of Ocean Technology, India
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