Digital twins - evolution through simulation

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Headlines

  • A Digital Twin is a virtual version of a real device, product, place, factory, service or system that describes all the particularities and behavior of his physical twin and allows to simulate its feedback under any action.
  • The concept was first applied 50 years ago for a spacecraft placed at 205.000 miles away from Earth! What became a famous rescue mission, is now fundamental to a wide range of engineering domains.
  • Digital Twin technology is successfully applied in various industries from manufacturing to IoT industry, wind farm, healthcare and urban planning.

Once applied, Digital Twin solutions cut operational and production costs, reduce the risks at any level, increase productivity, improve performance, predict the behavior and offer the best solutions over the full life cycle of the asset

Nice to meet you, my virtual self

Virtual Self

Do you ever wonder how your life would look like if you knew the outcome of your actions before you make any move? Maybe you wouldn’t have spent all those years studying at that university, discovering in the end that it wasn’t for you. Maybe you wouldn’t accept a job or quit a job. Maybe you wouldn’t spend all your savings on that car. Maybe you wouldn’t choose to go on that holiday. Maybe you’ll start that business or maybe not at that particular time.  To be successful you have to be the right person at the right moment in the right place. But how should this right person be, when is the right moment and which is the right place? Is there an app that can tell you this and help you become the perfect version of yourself? Without sacrifices, without time and money spent?

 

REAL YOU    >          VIRTUAL YOU     >          THE BEST VERSION OF YOU

 

All this can be achieved with a digital twin which designs, tests and analyzes any possibility for every step of your way. The twin will take into account at all levels any aspect of the environment of your life and more: you can design multiple scenarios and see different results based on changing developments.

But…. if you would have this app, your risk of failing will be almost zero. You will not know how to lose. So how will you learn from your own mistakes? And where will the mystery of your life be? It is said that finding our way is more important than achieving our goals.

Even so, an individual health and care application should be made in the near future. It would be great to check our health and discover our weaknesses and our risks to our livelihood.

Nowadays, the idea of using a digital twin is not new. We already use Digital Twin technology for different purposes, and most of us don’t even know it. For example, a virtual map. It helps you arrive at the right address without wasting time by stopping the car and asking for directions every 200 meters. This app is based on a Digital Twin technology and the map is the virtual representation of reality. But what if this kind of app will collect data about your car, about your gas level, about the time you spent at a location or any information that only you can access and control in order to simplify and improve the efficiency of your life? This will become a Digital Twin of your formula.

Other examples of Digital Twin technology you currently use: your banking app is the digital twin of your financial situation, your health app is the digital twin of your health condition.

From the virtual to the real world - What is a Digital Twin?

A Digital Twin is a virtual version of a real device, product, place, factory, service or system. The digital model describes all the particularities, attributes and behavior of his physical twin and allows to simulate its feedback under any action.

As an integrated key component of Industry 4.0, the digital twin is built in the cloud, using the IoT technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning as the unique replica of the asset across its full lifecycle, that can simulate any aspect to perform real – time optimization.

A digital twin solution can be applied to an actual asset or to a potential one and it is set on solid, advanced, real-time, real-world data analysis across a multitude of dimensions. 

From space to Earth - Digital Twin, born to be a superstar?

50 years ago, at 205.000 miles away from Earth, somebody was saying: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here!” It was for the first time when the Digital Twin concept was applied in the real world.

A pioneer of Digital Twin was first used by NASA to simulate space programming in the 1970s for the moon missions. The engineers on the ground used mirrored systems to rescue the Apollo 13 program when it ran into critically damage produced by an explosion in the oxygen tanks. This was possible because on earth there was an identical copy of the spacecraft to match the systems in space.

So, we can say that first intervention of Digital Twins was successfully, even the space and time conditions weren’t the best.

Fallen from the sky, raised up in Clouds - The odyssey of Digital Twins

50 years later after this space journey, with the incredible advances in computing power, multi-physics simulation and low-cost sensing and data storage, Digital Twin technology can be accessed by any organization. Therefore, what became a famous rescue mission, is now fundamental to a wide range of domains.

Knowing that in 1976, only 16 percent of the S&P 500 was made up of intangible assets, it’s remarkable that today, this percent went up to 90.

Mirror, mirror overall, tell me the truth or... even more?

How many of us have wished in their childhood to have the famous magic mirror and use in different situations? Well, it looks like science beat the fantasy and some of us made their dreams come true. Digital Twin technology is acting like a mirror. Of course, you can see and check what is happening at every moment with your asset, but more importantly: you can predict what will happen at any level. You can test all the “what if scenarios” and choose the best actions to be implemented in the real asset.

With Digital Twin technology, we can represent virtually all the products and processes to simulate the behavior in real life and we can capture, structure and synchronize all the information about the product, at any level from the design, production, product release, use and maintenance phase. This process allows you to analyze an endless number of alternatives for your asset and convert into the real world only what matters and bring value.

Uses of Digital Twin

The use of Digital Twin technology is a growing trend since it is already helping companies to gain substantial value, better meet the needs of their customers, create new revenue streams, quickly adapt to new demands from the market and help them answer key strategic questions in real time that couldn’t be answered before. A company can implement Digital Twin solutions in a variety of areas: for individual components, complete assets, full systems or entire processes. In order to remain competitive on the market, more and more businesses, small and medium scales ones, start to access this revolutionary technology to solve complex problems with more cost – effective to implement.

So, the Digital Twin concept became an imperative in order to remain competitive and optimize operational efficiency.

Now, Digital Twin technology is successfully applied in various industries such as: manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, national security, aerospace, IoT industry, financial services, urban planning, asset management, logistics, wind farms, retail and more.

In very general lines, Digital Twin technology applied on an asset can be divided into main 3 categories:

Prediction level

At this level, the design phase, Digital Twin will explore, visualize and test their potential product, unbuilt yet, in the virtual reality.

The Digital Twin technology will help the company save time in developing the optimal design and save costs by building fewer physical prototypes.

Production level

In this phase, the manufacturing process will be simulated in order to test and validate that all the integrated pieces are working as expected before releasing the new process into production.

Performing level

This level refers to the operational phase when the Digital Twin can be continuously updated to reflect the current situation of the workflow and optimized to predict performance improvements

Benefits of Digital Twin technology

In general lines, Digital Twin solutions decrease operational and production costs, reduce the risks at any level, increase productivity, improve performance, predict the behavior and offer the best solutions over the full life cycle of the asset. Here are a few benefits for companies:

  1. Design better products
  2. Reduce capital spent during production and maintenance costs
  3. Reduced time to market and accelerate the design and the developments of products
  4. Increase the performance without affecting the quality
  5. Predict maintenance, identify obstacles in advance and solve them
  6. Increase the control over operations by expanding reliability of production and equipment lines
  7. Better risk management in various areas
  8. Faster production times
  9. Efficient delivery and supply chains
  10. Optimize productivity and operational efficiencies
  11. Improve communication and collaboration across the entire organization
  12. Increase customer satisfaction and provides remotely configured customized products to clients
  13. Improved return on investment 
  14. Develop new business opportunities by analyzing various scenarios and choosing only the best option
  15. Design health and safety plansand increase preventive measures in the face of possible diseases

Once applied in an organization, Digital Twin Technology will add value to analytical methods by refining situational awareness.

According to Gartner’s prediction, by 2021, half of all large industrial businesses will integrate Digital Twins solutions.  

For more information, feel free to check out our digital twins project.

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