The manufacturing sector is undergoing a massive transformation as digital innovations are reshaping what is possible, from hitting new levels of operational productivity, to creating successful business models.
The digital twins – like the real thing, but virtual
Digital twin represents a visual model that uses sensors, cameras, and other data collection techniques to replicate the physical characteristics of a “real world” factory, production line, product, or component in real-time. In other words, a digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-world product or asset.
Unlike past global defining moments in human history, such as the birth of agriculture and the industrial revolution, digital twin software portrays a sea change in manufacturing.
Digital twins are capable of revolutionizing the manufacturing industry by reducing operating costs and increasing machine and asset life.
Digital Twin on Manufacturing – Impact Zones
What makes digital twin technology (and IoT in particular) so desirable, is that it can generate important value to businesses throughout the whole manufacturing cycle and beyond.
The impact can be classified into 3 main zones for both factories/plants and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).
Impact Zone 1 – Maintenance
Digital twins enable the technical teams to be incredibly well prepared, arriving on-site with the right spare parts, equipment, and maintenance instructions.
Impact Zone 2 – Quality
Digital twins can help recognize the source of quality problems and prevent them, reducing flaws. The quality control experience of in-house professionals can be adapted and introduced to the system.
Impact Zone 3 – Optimization
When exploring new concepts for optimization, a digital twin is incredibly useful. Besides, drastic improvements can be made to the process, without the need for unplanned stops.
More interestingly, digital twins offer valuable insights into all stages of the product life cycle by:
- Testing hypotheses about the production process by using statistical analysis
- Developing a digital thread that links systems to enhance traceability
- Picturing the behavior of equipment in real-time
For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
Impact Zone 1 – Production and Design
Digital twins of products can be examined by engineering teams to compare the final product behavior to its design. Deviations in behavior can be evaluated to shape future development versions of the product.
Impact Zone 2 – Products in the field
Digital twins allow products that are already in the field to be remotely installed and tested – reducing service costs and increasing customer satisfaction.
In situations where a technician is expected to personally interact with the product to diagnose a problem, the problem can be first evaluated remotely via the twin so that proper equipment and components can be purchased.
Likewise, when new products are to be installed for customers, the configuration can be executed by service staff remotely.
Impact zone 3 – Future products
Future products can be created with observations that are founded on the real-world behavior of the current products. Efficiency and customer experience are illustrated in the twin and then integrated into the product development and manufacturing process, in order to help improve product profits and maximize customer experience and market share.
2 important benefits of digital twin manufacturing
Human learning and decision-making are improved through visualization, but with many of the contemporary advanced manufacturing systems, getting a realistic interpretation of the production line and individual machine status is not always possible and easy. Plus, when live data is provided to managers in the form of figure sheets or specific charts, it may often appear very complicated to shape the basis for action.
Digital twin provides dynamic visualization, mixing visual data with live and historical data. Managers will be able to discover and examine physical parameters, for instance, temperature anomalies. Information that isn’t important can be masked to reduce noticeable confusion but can be recalled at any time.
This kind of visualization was not previously possible, but now greatly enhances the ability to make intelligent decisions and recognize crucial areas that require urgent attention.
The visual aspect of digital twin technology also lends itself to a better level of collaboration. Physical distance from the product or system no longer restricts stakeholders from being able to track activity and step in.
Digital twin offers access to a larger variety of professionals than that provided by a production line. Data scientists, product managers, and designers are getting a much deeper understanding of the devices at work and of the entire operation. This leads to better design, more effective processes, saving time, effort and resources.
A digital twin allows manufacturers to develop high-quality products, to avoid system failures and errors and anticipate outcomes that influence business.
The Future of digital twin concept
Digital twin software will enable you to visually design the digital replica of your production line processes and assets. Will help you detect issues remotely to prevent downtime, will help you quickly address issues identified in the production line, and will help you make informed decisions for the design and engineering of future iterations, improving customer satisfaction and driving new business value. You just need the choose the right development team to get the best results!
Digital twin is already enabling companies to meet their clients’ needs in a better way and quickly adapt to emerging demands from the market, but there is still a lot to be learned.
Digital twin systems expand far beyond the manufacturing sector. For example, the technology provides tremendous potential for health-care and patient care operations. Even cities can have digital twins. For instance, Singapore is an early adopter of this technology, being utilized by its leaders to help the city-state evaluate and optimize its energy usage, handle community planning and more.