The cost-effectiveness of the digital twin technology was realized only with the advent of IoT. Named as one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends, the digital twin is nothing but a virtual model of a service, product or process. Which means the virtual and physical worlds are bridged while allowing data analysis, monitoring of systems, consequently warding off potential issues even before they occur? This develops newer opportunities while even preventing downtime and enables stakeholders to plan for future using simulations.
In other words, virtual replicas are created of physical devices that IT pros and data scientists can use to run replicas. These digital twins are especially carried out before actual devices are assembled and deployed. This way IT professionals can optimize the release with peak efficiency. While merging the worlds of IoT, AI, and data analytics, the digital twin technology has moved beyond just manufacturing. The more complex the connectivity, the more data is produced – so, getting a digital equivalent is actually a judicious activity. Gradually, the digital twin technology has widened to include larger items such as factories, buildings and cities – and in some cases even people and processes – thus taking the concept to a different level.
NASA was the first to create full-scale mock-ups of space capsules used on the ground to mirror issues. This way, they could diagnose in orbit problems. Gradually, the idea progressed to fully digitized simulations. Real world data is about a physical object or a system obtained as inputs and outputs are produced in the form of predictions. These simulations then react exactly the way a system or a physical object would be affected by certain activities.
Bridging the worlds
Most certainly the digital twin technology is a giant technological leap as it bridges the physical assets with intelligent virtual simulations. Considered by many as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the digital twin technology harnesses the potential of big data, machine learning and other virtual reality to provide its output. This will affect most businesses and even personal pursuits. Gartner predicts that in 2021, almost all large industrial companies will most likely adopt digital twin technology.
How does it work?
Often experts in applied mathematics and data science are employed to build a digital twin. The physics of the underlying object is studied by these specialists and that resultant data is used to develop a mathematical model that simulates the one that exists in the real world. The twin receives inputs from data that is gathered by sensors from a real-world equivalent. Therefore, in real-time, it is able to simulate the physical object and offers some groundbreaking insights into potential issues and performance of the device. Since the twin is a prototype of the actual product itself, it is bound to produce refined feedbacks, which paves the way for building the physical product. The amount of data you use to build and update it will determine how precisely you’re simulating a physical object. A digital twin can be simple or as complicated as you like.
Digital twins – the benefits
Currently, primarily utilized by the manufacturing industry, Digital Twin technology is changing effectiveness courses rather quickly. More businesses in construction are looking forward to employing this technology to the fullest. XCEL Corp uses the digital twin technology in a variety of ways to provide clients with the desired, satisfactory and working result.
There are expenses involved in designing and producing prototypes. Multiple iterations are required before the final working version is introduced. While this might seem like a lengthy and pricey process, it is on the verge of extinction. Instead, XCEL Corp creates a digital twin that is affordable and a far better option, before generating the physical prototype. This way, the product design, and production process are highly streamlined and geographically diversified as teams can collaborate on a single design even without meeting each other in person. Besides, the eventual physical prototype is highly evolved as the virtual model undergoes several simulations to attain precise outputs.
While breakdowns of equipment may seem common, there is a need for predictive management where equipment maintenance can be scheduled even before the failure occurs. XCEL Corp designs digital twins that can report these incidents on time to human monitors thus reducing downtime and saving companies both time and money.
XCEL Corp ensures that the digital twin contributes beyond just the product design and the actual lifecycle. It also analyzes and answers some critical queries about asset responses to different conditions and stresses. This way, the impact of such pressures on the physical copy can also be assessed. Future operational decisions can be based upon the way the component reacts individually and collectively to these incidents.
NASA and the U.S. space program have been able to successfully tackle several challenges with the initial phases of the digital twin technology. For space exploration programs, they have been able to mirror shuttlecrafts to diagnose and repair spacecraft errors as they occur in orbit. Conditions are simulated to deduce problems, test solutions and implement them successfully to a real-time scenario. Other prominent examples are by British Petroleum that visualizes extensive facilities in Alaska with the help of the digital twin technology. The conditions of the connections and pipes, embedded deep within the snow are monitored by engineers in an office where sensors precisely indicate the failure of the equipment along with its requirement for maintenance. General Electric also monitors and controls wind farm turbines by making virtual copies to forecast energy production and identifying problem spots.
It is predicted that by 2022 the digital twinning technology will be present in most of the IoT platforms. An increase in availability and adoption is obvious with the evolution of smart homes and workplaces that require remote controlling and monitoring. XCEL Corp successfully utilizes the digital twin technology to take a real-time look at physical assets and alleviate any burden that erupts due to maintenance. We help our clients save several millions of dollars that could otherwise emerge as maintenance costs. By prototyping objects that have not yet been produced, we minimize product defects, subsequently shortening time-to-market.