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    Digital twin & its practical implementation in Industries

    August 17, 2021

August 17, 2021 | Himadri Garg

Digital twin & its practical implementation in Industries

Digital twin refers to the exact virtual prototype of an object, process, or system covering its entire life cycle. This prototype is based on real-time data and uses simulation, machine learning, and reasoning to help decision-making.  

Digital twins form a bridge between the physical and digital worlds. 

The concept of the digital twin was first used by NASA. With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the usage of digital twins is expanding. With the onset of Industry 4.0, the digital twin is becoming inevitable to be used by businesses of all scales to optimize and increase profits of their operations. By allowing the creation of digital copies of real-time objects digital twins have opened new avenues of production, maintenance, design, research, and innovation.

Digital twin allows designing, and real-life simulation of an entity even before it is created. This enables the production of only those products that match the standards defined. For instance, with digital twins, 10 different car models can be digitally created, and with real-life simulation can be digitally checked for possible shortcomings, and based on this a near-perfect product can be created. 

Similarly, with digital twins, it is easier to test products in different scenarios without physically requiring the test scenarios. It helps in the optimization and customization of products. In the automobile industry, a digital twin of a car can be tested to handle different collision scenarios, and accordingly, the safety procedure of the car can be updated.

Digital twins in combination with the Internet of things allows for real-time monitoring of objects. With the usage of sensors, the digital twin is continuously monitored remotely. This enables early diagnosis of any future breakdown of the object or system.

Digital twin equipped with real-time data is a tool without rivals in making predictions about possible breakdowns, future wear, and tear. This enables businesses to undertake more efficient preventive maintenance. This reduces the downtime of any unit. With a digital twin, it is also possible to identify the part most likely to malfunction and possible routes to fix the problem.

Teleoperations is one of the key advantage areas of the digital twin. Through teleoperation, it is possible to control the physical object,  system, or process remotely. It allows controlling physical objects virtually, virtual objects physically and virtual objects virtually. The combination of these possibilities helps in creating a teleoperation ecosystem.  It is of indispensable value in controlling operations in hazardous industries and the environment. 

As businesses adopt digital operations and industry 4.0, the firms employing this technology are already gaining an edge in the market. Digital twins are enabling them to better predict, design, maintain and operate their products. The availability of increasingly accurate models and predictions gives them an edge over those that have not adopted the norms yet. 

INDUSTRIES EMPLOYING DIGITAL TWIN

POWER GENERATION- Power generation industries employ humongous machinery and operation designs. Digital twin not only helps in better design and modification but also in time maintenance. This sector cannot face shut down as it provides power to all other sectors. Digital twins help in checking any possible fault well in time. 

LARGE PHYSICAL STRUCTURES AND THEIR SYSTEMS-  Digital twins are imperative in designing large physical structures such as bridges and offshore drilling operations. At the same time, the digital twin is used in the maintenance and remote operations of systems within these structures. For instance,  in the case of oil drilling, it helps to predict the depth and exact location of drilling operations most viable for the equipment.

MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS- The manufacturing operations are increasingly using digital twin at all levels. Ffom product design, customization, process, maintenance to delivery of the product.

HEALTHCARE SERVICES- Just like with physical objects, a digital twin of a human can be created. In the healthcare system, the digital twin is used to make a prognosis of the patient, try the possible treatments, check their consequences. It is being used to develop better medical facilities. 

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY– The automobile industry operates in complex interwoven systems. The digital twin helps in the design, simulation, and prediction of the automobile as well as that of the environment surrounding it.

These industries are the most prominent employers of digital twins but by no means the only users of digital twins. 

DIGITAL TWINS AND BUSINESS FUTURE

As per the The “Digital Twins Market by Technology, Solution, Application, and Industry Vertical 2020-2025” report

  • Up to 89% of all IoT Platforms will contain some form of Digital Twinning capability by 2025 
  • Digital twinning will become standard feature/functionality for IoT Application Enablement by 2027

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