Opportunities provided by Digital Twins
As Industry 4.0, digital technologies and data-driven-manufacturing takes hold, the need to scrutinise the performance and behaviours of products, equipment, processes, and whole supply chains becomes paramount. Digital twins are a near-real-time digital representation of a physical object, process, organisation, or supply chain.
The purpose of Digital Twins is to build a history of what has happened in the physical world, to monitor and visualise current behaviour and provide simulations and intelligent analysis to predict future behaviour, prevent issues and improve productivity.
Recent evolutions in technology, data processing power, AI (Artificial Intelligence) including machine learning (ML) and visual AI, and communications bandwidth are all lowering the barriers to being able to truly deliver digital models of the real-world that can utilise and process the vast amounts of data required to realise the vision of digital twins that bring together the worlds of operational technology and enterprise IT (Information Technology) to drive performance improvements.
Using data from across design, development, the shopfloor, the wider organisation and even the whole supply chain, data-driven manufacturers and supply chain organisations are using digital twins of products, plant and equipment, entire manufacturing processes and supply chains to gain competitive advantage.
However, like all emerging technology areas and new terms, the concept of a digital twin can be confusing. Let’s explore the various types or use cases for digital twins, because one person’s idea of a digital twin, may not be the same as another’s.
PRODUCT DESIGN TWINS
The design and manufacture of complex products is taking computer aided design (CAD) and modelling to the next level. While these technologies have been used in the design stages for decades, digital twins provide enhanced capabilities. As well as simulating product performance to iron out design issues early in the product lifecycle, digital twins are also used to test manufacturability. Showing how a product “as designed” can be moved to “as produced,” influencing not only changes to product design, but also to inform the design of manufacturing tooling as well.
The value of product twins extends beyond the period of manufacturing and has a place in after sales service and support. By monitoring product diagnostics for items deployed in the field, manufacturing and service organisations can better plan maintenance and servicing, anticipate potential failures and improve customer satisfaction.
Process twinning is all about exploiting the near-real time relationship between physical production lines, equipment and the data generated. The ability to feed a digital representation of a facility, means you can monitor and respond to flow, stoppages, quality and over events. Made possible by the increasing diversity of connected devices, digital enablement of plant and equipment, and the evolution of industrial internet of things (IIOT), the resulting streams of data can be visualised and analysed using a digital twin.
Using advanced analytics, ML algorithms and the theory and practice of condition monitoring, preventative and predictive maintenance, operations teams can monitor throughput, quality deviations and respond to issues, even before they occur.
SUPPLY CHAIN TWINS
Extending beyond the four-walls of the production facility, tracking the flow of materials, products and assets through the end-to-end supply chain, digital twins have a part to play in managing performance, costs, regulatory controls, work force and asset utilisation.
Supply chain twins can track individual products on their journeys to deployment; monitor fleets of vehicles, provide visibility of workforce locations and assets deployed into the field. Retrieving information about the supply chain, will enable manufacturing, supply chain, transport, and logistics companies to become more competitive.
The last frontier for supply chain digital twins will be the ability of organisations to share data across enterprises, with their supply chain partners. We all know that process, data, and technical maturity varies across organisations. As businesses become more mature, the ability to visualise end-to-end, global supply chains will improve. As the quality and ability to share data increases, so will the ability to monitor disruptions, identify risks and take corrective or evasive actions.
KOMPOZABLE DIGITAL TWIN SERVICES
Working at the forefront of intelligent technologies, data automation and integration, Kompozable’s engineers can help you throughout your Digital Twin design and implementation journey. Digital Twins combine the latest technologies with modern approaches to data management, delivering solutions that add value and drive competitive advantage. To help client organisations to explore digital twinning use cases, we offer Digital Twin Discovery Workshops and Digital Twin Readiness Assessments.
Get in touch today to find out more.