Digital Twin Technology helps produce a replica of the physical assets of a product or service in an industry. It is a clone of the physical product just in digital form. More likely, a virtual model of the physical process, this technology helps in analyzing the data, lends a platform to check the functioning beforehand so as to develop a solution for any potential problems. It also provides an insight into the stimulations with the help of real-time data thereby connecting the product digitally with its own blueprint.
Starting from the development phase to the design and testing, every step is examined carefully with the help of digital twin technology. The technology acts as a proxy for the actual model. It has now become easier to question the gap in a business model by exploiting machine learning, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence along with digital twin technology. A new form of data analysis has come to fore with the real-time data by having a virtual model handy.
The term came into being in 2002 and was named one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017. Much with the help of Internet of things, it became cost-effective to implement it.
How Does It Work?
Firstly, smart components use sensors to collect the real-time data, working status and other operational data attached to the physical model. These components send the relevant data via a cloud-based system to the other side of the bridge where with the help of data analytics required insights are obtained. A consistent flow of data is a big positive in optimizing the outcomes.
Moreover, a digital twin also integrates historical data from past machine usage to the current data. It is a predictive analysis of data even before it is put to use.
Birth of Digital Twin Technology
NASA was the first to give birth to digital twin technology. The argument was how can one possibly mend or update or check on a machine in outer space where it is practically impossible to be physically present at any given point if time. Hence, they developed a virtual replica which can work from the desired place and can fetch real-time data.
NASA uses digital twins to develop new recommendations, roadmaps, and next-generation vehicles and aircraft. According to the NASA’s leading manufacturing expert, John Vickers, the most valuable prospect of digital twin is to be able to build, check and test a technology or product in a virtual environment.
Another example of digital twin technology is 3D modeling. One can analyze how the physical model would turn out to be a digital companion. The term ‘Device Shadow’ is also used to speak for digital twin technology.
Applications and Importance
A comprehensive collaboration of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, digital twin predicts the issue before it occurs in the physical machine. It is like knowing the future and having the capability to mold it.
With digital twin technology, minimum time and capital is invested in resolving any issue. There are comparatively lesser downtimes and overhead expenditures. It is an integrated way to optimize and monitor the performance virtually.
Innovation in business accompanied by seamless customer services is yet another application of digital twin. It manages the customer operations and understands their needs. It is increasingly finding its applications in aircraft engines, locomotives, wind turbines, buildings and HVAC control systems, healthcare and retail.
Internet of things acts as a base for the digital twin technology. Hence, in the near future, most of the IoT platforms will adopt digital twin technology. GE uses the digital environment to inform the configuration of each wind turbine prior to construction. It has implemented over 500,000 digital twins. German packaging systems manufacturer, Optima, digitally mapped and examined its transport system using digital twin technology by Siemens. The Singapore government, in association with the 3D design software giant Dassault Systèmes, is building a virtual model of the country with an aim to optimize and augment the urban planning process.
For every asset and product, there is a virtual replica of the same made functional via cloud services which consistently utilizes the operational data to produce better results and provide extra insights. It won’t be long that more and more companies would want to adopt digital twin to survive the competitive market and have favorable business outcomes.