Digital Twin

A Digital Twin, sometimes referred to as a Device Shadow, provides a virtual representation of a product, part, system or process that allows you to see how it will perform, sometimes even before it exists.

In the current age of Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory, the exponential growth of technological developments allows us to gather, store and manipulate data like never before.

Smaller sensors, cheaper memory storage and faster processors, all wirelessly connected to the network, facilitate dynamic simulation and modeling in order to project the object into the digital world. This virtual model is then able to receive operational, historical and environmental data.

Technological advancements have made the collection and sharing of large volumes of data much easier, as well as facilitating its application to the model and the processing involved in iteration through various possible scenarios to predict and drive outcomes. Of course, data security is an ever-important consideration with a Data Twin, as with any digital modeling of critical resources.

As a computerized version of a physical asset, the Digital Twin can be used for various valuable purposes. It can determine its remaining useful life, predict breakdowns, project performance and estimate financial returns. Using this data, design, manufacture and operation can be optimized in order to benefit from forecasted opportunities.

There is a three stage process to implement a useful Digital Twin:

1. Establish the model

More than just overlaying digital data on a physical item, the subject is simulated using 3D software. Interactions then take place with the model to communicate with it about all the relevant parameters. Data is imposed and the model 'learns', through similarity, how it is supposed to behave.

2. Make it active

By running simulations, the model continuously updates itself according to the data, both known and imposed. Taking information from other sources including history, other models, connected devices, forecasts and costings, the software runs permutations of options to provide insights, relative to risk and confidence levels.

3. Learn from it

Using the resulting prescriptions and suggestions, plans can be put into action to create or manipulate the situation in the real life industry context, in order to achieve optimal outcomes in terms of utilization, costs and performance and avoid potential problem areas or unprofitable situations.

A Digital Twin is more than just a blueprint or schematic of a device or system; it is an actual virtual representation of all the elements involved in its operation, including how these elements dynamically interact with each other and their environment. The great benefits come through monitoring these elements, improving diagnostics and prognostics, and investigating root causes of any issues in order to increase efficiencies and overall productivity.

A correctly generated Digital Twin can be used to dynamically calibrate the operational environment in order to positively impact every phase of the product lifecycle; through design, building and operation.

Find out today how Simio Simulation and Scheduling Software can benefit you through in the application of Digital Twin technology.

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