Why are the Digital Twins as one of the most relevant technologies for the industry of the future?

Industry 4.0
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Nowadays, digitalization has taken an important role in modern industry. The development achieved by information and communication technologies has led to it being the new bet to improve efficiency and productivity levels. New paradigms such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Data have contributed to achieving new solutions based on real-time communications, data exchange between all the production systems, allowing to perform real time assets monitoring, fault detection and knowledge-based decision making.  In this sense one of the tools that contributed to this achievement are Digital Twins (DT).

DT plays a very important role due to the ability to emulate an existing physical asset, replicating its dynamics through simulations in the digital world. Thus, it is possible to mirror in the virtual world what is happening in the physical world through synchronization of the simulation model parameters with the physical values in real time. By integrating DT with IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) it is possible to run live simulation models that continuously learn and update from their interaction with the physical world. Moreover, it enables the possibility both to monitor and control the production equipment, improving efficiency and productivity.

In the current manufacturing industry, DT support the asset life cycle management. DT allow to reach higher levels of efficiency in the stages of product design, operation, maintenance and production, becoming one of the key technologies that support intelligent manufacturing. From the initial stage of the process to the final products the data collected/simulated from equipment, tools, and environment allows to carry out management, maintenance, tracking, performance analysis and control operations on the shop floor. Combining optimisation tools with DT can be conducted scheduling and reconfiguration tasks in order to improve the production, reduce the consumption of raw materials, and reduce energy consumption.

In other industries like automotive, digital twins already evolve seamlessly along a product’s whole lifecycle. They start as twins of a product type with the original design information, engineering models, and testing data. They continue after manufacturing as representations of specific instances of a product using the data collected during operation to support maintenance and service along with other activities. And finally, the digital twin helps to facilitate end-of-life-usage [1].

Due to the importance that digital twins have reach for Industry 4.0, the scientific community in conjunction with the business sector are dedicating great efforts to developing new modelling techniques to take digital twins to the next level. Company’s like Siemens, Bosh, Microsoft, IBM among others are developing new and better platforms for the construction of more powerful digital twins with high connectivity capabilities.

According to a Juniper Research study, global investments on digital twins will reach $ 12.7 billion in 2021 [2]. This represents an increase of 17% after the 10.800 million dollars that were reached in 2019. The research identifies that manufacturing will be the largest sector for the deployment of Digital Twins; representing 34% of total spending in 2021, followed by energy and utilities at 18%. North America will dominate spending; representing 67% of manufacturing spending in 2021

Digital twins are a bet for the future that are becoming the present. Their potentialities are beginning to grow, and they will soon form a fundamental part of the main industries of the planet. They will be fundamental tools in the steps towards industry 4.0 empowering the industry of the future which will be distinguished by high levels of production and quality.

In future posts, we will be continue writing about technology and business trends for enterprises. Furthermore, we recommend consulting the following literature to continue your digital transformation journey:

The objective of this blog is to provide a personal vision of how digital transformation trends will be impacting in our daily activities, businesses and lifestyle.

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[1] https://assets.new.siemens.com/siemens/assets/api/uuid:ce77eef2-3ae4-4910-9d88-e57697aa0196/SimulationDigitalTwinOutlook2030.pdf

[2] https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/digital-twins-spend-to-reach-12-7-billion-by-2021

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By Alberto Villalonga twitterlinkedin2

Researcher, his research interest includes machine learning, Industry 4.0, Internet of things, and cyber-physical systems.

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