Digital twins (DT) can be used to manage performance, increase effectiveness and improve on the quality of fixed assets. Manufacturing machines, lines and performances can all be optimised through advanced visualisation, use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics when correctly applied by manufacturers to increase strategization and the holisticness of their asset management activities. DT is poised to be a huge opportunity for manufacturers and engineers alike in the customisation of design, production and end to end operations.
Digital Twin and engineering
The creation of digital twins to virtually represent designs and enhance products has been a long-standing approach to the application of the technology. DTs can be created before the physical product, as a vision of what the optimal product should be. IoT enables the capture of data from products deployed into the field, and this data can be applied to the DT for continual and better informed product improvements.
The rise in demand for customisation by consumers drives in large part the need for digital twinning technology. Designs and engineering models can be trialled and tested through them, without having to battle with customer input in the manufacturing process. Digital twins allow for easier application of consumer demands, and the integration of data that can and will enhance the options for customisation. Choosing different colours, part specifications and other variables tied to customer references enables your business to create a picture of the demand that is better informed, and will allow for you to more easily plan future business models and prepare for new business opportunities
Digital twins enable the manufacturer to put together a single version of ‘the truth’, or many sets of data that will inform your production processes. The ability to quickly and efficiently analyse and visualise large data sets is a functionality that can also be harnessed to compare quality data across products, providing greater insight into quality issues across the board of your products range. With this technology, manufacturers can quickly visualise numerous issues against the single model of truth that already exists. Your production processes can be better informed, quicker to react and deal with growing data sets to improve the processes across the board.
The most accepted positive application of digital twins lies in the optimisation of operations. Manufacturers can use the technology to create a virtual representation of their assets in the field. From there, data capture is possible through smart sensors in the asset, and a clear and understandable image of the real-world performance and operating conditions can be quickly drawn up to inform your workers. In addition to this, manufacturers also have the opportunity to simulate conditions for predictive maintenance of systems and products, allowing you to prepare for changing and less-than optimal real world operating environments. A business can schedule maintenance prior to actual crucial breaks in product parts, increasing uptime and minimising repair costs overall.
A business can schedule maintenance prior to actual crucial breaks in product parts, increasing uptime and minimising repair costs overall.
Digital twins will in the future, and indeed already are, facilitating new business models. The sale of physical performance data and the pricing of objects can be done on predictive performance data made available quickly and succinctly by DT technology. Innumerable fields of new business opportunities are being opened up, and the adoption and implementation of these new technologies provides the opportunity to increase revenue where they are seen as a valuable asset and embedded in your manufacturing ecosystems with the correct mindset and attitude towards improving manufacturing processes through new technology.