The new technologies: Why are they Essential in the Manufacturing Process?
Though not novel by any means, digital twin tech is relatively underused. First described in 2002, this awesome tech provides much to a business in the ways of optimization in the areas of manufacture, maintenance, repair, and designing of their assets. In 2017, Gartner predicted that, by 2021, 50% of large industrial companies will be using digital twins to enhance their production capabilities. And with more and more companies following suit, perhaps it is time that you also consider its benefits, and how it can improve your business.
If you are, indeed, interested in this tech, you’ve come to the right place. In this little article, we’ll go over what digital twins are, what benefits they have, and we’ll also go over some recorded uses. Stay tuned!
What is Digital Twins Technology and How Does It Work?
Put simply, digital twins are 3D, interactable models of real-world assets. These models are accurate representations of assets they replicate – however, unlike simulations or digital models, they are “live” replicas. This means that, whereas digital models require input to change their form, digital twins receive a live feed from sensors, thus creating a model as it exists in real life, at the present time.
Above all, one of the greatest benefits of digital twin technology lies in its cost-effectiveness.
With that being said, this technology is a cross between augmented and virtual reality, 3D graphics, and data modeling. It is also enhanced by cloud, big data, and IoT, thus creating a very accurate representation of not only objects but processes as well. In fact, a single digital twin can track the entire life cycle of a product, from its inception to its eventual replacement.
So, how does this tech work? Well, in essence, digital twins use sensors connected to a cloud to form an accurate depiction of an object or process. Here, the technology combines real-time data with past data, thus enhancing the precision of the replica. This, in turn, enables various inputs during testing, and the replica will change very accurately following the data input.
The best part about it is that this can be done on the fly. Simulations also aren’t new when it comes to design and manufacturing, but, unlike digital twins, sims can only be used once in one instance, after which they will require recalibration for another test.
Digital twins also come in 3 forms: DTP, DTI, and DTA.
Digital Twin Prototype is, first and foremost, used in the design stage of a product. DTPs allow the manufacturers to plan and analyze the project before putting it into production.
Digital Twin Instance is a twin of the physical asset in the real sense of the word. DTI is a copy of an actual product, and it will remain active throughout its lifecycle. DTIs can be used to analyze the product, and observe its behavior when presented with different changes in parameters.
Digital Twin Aggregate is an aggregation of instances. These DTs are used for the analysis of the product and make predictions about it in the future with astounding accuracy.
Now that we’ve learned about what DTs are, let’s see their possible uses.
Digital Twins – What Are They Used For and Who Is Using Them?
Because digital twins can be used to replicate a product as well as a process, they have a wide variety of applications. DTs are used not only in manufacturing, but they’ve found their way into healthcare as well. Pharmaceuticals and healthcare providers are highly interested in this tech due to COVID, as a means of tracking the virus and predicting its spread, and it is estimated digital twin technology will see a total of 58% CAGR growth by 2026.
In manufacturing, DTs are often employed by automotive and aeronautical companies. Considering failure of their products can have severe consequences when it comes to loss of property and life, these companies need to make sure their assets are always perfectly designed and maintained.
In this case, DTs allow these companies to accurately analyze every step of the product’s life. It allows designers to predict possible failure points, as well as gather necessary data on the behavior of a finished product in real-time. This, in turn, allows manufacturers to anticipate maintenance sessions, and discover quickly which parts need it most.
Another use for DTs is streamlining and optimization of the manufacturing process. As we said, digital twins can replicate processes too, which allows manufacturers to glean an insight into their own manufacturing process, and fix any shortcomings it might have.
Finally, returning to healthcare, DTs can make for excellent tools during the treatment of patients. Having the ability to create a digital, 3D copy of an organ, doctors and surgeons can investigate possible impacts of illnesses, as well as the effects of treatment as it is happening, or anticipate its results.
Benefits of Using Digital Twins Technology
Lastly, let us talk about the benefits of this kind of technology.
As you’ve seen, this kind of tech has already made its way into many facets of our lives. Being able to make thorough analyses before a product is created allows for a greatly increased end quality of that product.
Another benefit of DTs is the very thing we mentioned so many times – their ability to maintain a real-time picture of the asset. Continuous updates are an essential part of maintaining a high-quality standard for an asset, as well as for any future products. This also aids in the maintenance of the asset, which will not only protect it but your customers and users as well.
Being able to streamline your manufacturing process means you can discover any problems early, and paint a good picture of your future expenses. This enables you to cut unnecessary costs, and increase your profit margin for your products. Music to any manufacturer’s ears.
With that said, it is time to wrap up our article on DTs. As you’ve hopefully seen, DT technology has many applications and great benefits in almost any field. High ROI and good growth predictions for the future make it a very sound choice for any growing company. In business, it is imperative you keep up with the times, otherwise, you’ll be left quickly behind – so why not invest in your future now, and give digital twins technology a try?