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In order to remain competitive in the future, companies must actively promote digitization. The digital twin is a perfect solution and opens up great growth opportunities for the company. In the following article, you will learn what exactly it is and why we love it so much.
The digital twin is a virtual representation of a real object, such as a building or an industrial plant. It can be a tangible or intangible object, such as products, services or processes. Moreover, it is irrelevant whether the object already exists in the real world and will only exist in the future. This means that an object can be created digitally beforehand and thus be tested to see whether it will fulfil its purpose. Digital twins consist of data and algorithms. This data can be compared in real time with data from the real world. Thus, to create a Digital Twin, an object to be mapped, a Digital Twin in virtual space and information connecting the object and the Digital Twin to the real world are needed.
The use of a Digital Twin creates new ways of automating buildings and optimizing processes in companies in order to improve business performance. But that’s not all. In addition, communication between stakeholders is improved and the susceptibility to errors in processes is reduced. In detail, the benefits of the digital twin are very high. The digital twin can be useful in every phase of the object’s life. That is why we have listed the reasons why we love the Digital Twin and why it is indispensable. In order to better classify the benefits, we have divided the points into the different life phases of an object: Design, Creation and Use.
1) Individual Creation
The Digital Twin can be customized for each company or object. Because every company has its own ideas and requirements for a Digital Twin. It is precisely this individuality that makes it so special and versatile. In addition, it can be used as a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) for a construction project. The SSOT is a uniform and holistic source of information for all those involved in a process. This is created by constantly updating the data.
Example: A digital twin can be used for many objects. Among other things, it can be used for facility management in different areas. Whether areas from industry, the automotive sector or individual machines and plants. With this, we would like to show that a digital twin can be individually adapted to the wishes of the customer.
2) Optimizations During the Planning Phase
Optimizations and thus time savings can already be implemented during the planning phase. This is because the behavior of the new object can be tested under real conditions right at the beginning. The digital twin can therefore be created as a simulation beforehand, so that possible problems can be defined in advance. This makes it possible to adjust to the problems that may occur during further creation and, of course, to avoid them. The risk of planning errors is therefore significantly reduced.
Example: A large building is to be built and, along with it, the digital twin. In this case, the Digital Twin is to reflect the data of the heating systems. During the creation of the Digital Twin, it is discovered that a planned heating system does not have the necessary power to heat a large hall. Therefore, a new, more powerful model is used. Only through the digital twin, which had already been created beforehand, did this error come to light and could be quickly rectified.
3) Continuous Monitoring and Optimization
After the object has been digitized, the collected data and states of the individual materials can be effectively recorded in a point cloud. This allows access to the 3D model, which contains the necessary data for commissioning a building, regardless of location. Through the detailed analysis and constant monitoring of the data, it is possible to react directly to current events. The digital twin is an efficient and networked tool that all parties involved can access and extract the necessary information.
Example: The continuous monitoring and optimisation can be illustrated with an example from the automotive industry. With the digital twin, each production step can be compared in real time with a digital image. In this way, quality fluctuations are noticed even before the customer and can be eliminated immediately.
4) New Opportunities for Collaboration
The digital twin can be accessed anywhere, regardless of location. Everyone involved who has been assigned access can find out about the current status, the further process and the following instructions. This possibility optimizes the organization between the responsible workers, because it means less communication effort. Thus, the Digital Twin optimizes the connection of all parties involved through the central data structure and direct access to the 3D model.
Example: The facility manager notices that a system in a production hall has failed. He could see this information via the digital twin. After identifying the problem and unable to solve it himself, he calls a craftsman. The facility manager provides the data from the digital twin so that the tradesman can adapt to the problem. Communication with one another is simplified and made efficient. By quickly identifying the problem, there are no additional costs and the problem can be resolved as quickly as possible.
5) Forecasting and Minimizing Errors
The possibility of permanent condition monitoring in real time, based on this, predictive maintenance, e.g. of systems, is possible. Forecasts and tests that are useful for future applications can also be implemented by the digital twin. These can be created risk-free without endangering active operation. With this tool it is possible, for example, to give a good estimate in advance of when a system will be serviced or even fail. This minimizes incorrect planning, which leads to an optimized result.
Example: In this example, the digital twin is the image of an assembly line. The goods can be produced digitally and reflect the current situation. The previously recorded data can be used to carry out analyses from which a forecast can be made. In this way, problems can be identified and resolved at an early stage.
6) Efficiency and Quality Improvement
The digital twin increases the efficiency and thus also the quality when creating and commissioning an object. Because processes can be tested without actually implementing them beforehand. This allows greater room for maneuver in the implementation, because the planning can be further improved until it is finally implemented. Testing also reduces the risk of bad planning. The constant comparison between the digital and real object ensures a high-quality end result.
Example: In the automotive industry, individual components or entire vehicles can be tested virtually for their load. Even a virtual crash test is possible. This increases efficiency, as the development time of a car is greatly reduced. In addition, the quality is increased by these tests.
7) Climate Protection
Thanks to the digital twin, the planning, construction and commissioning of objects is highly efficient. Fewer planning errors occur, the analysis of the objects makes it possible to make detailed forecasts, and the communication of those involved is simplified. These increases in efficiency save costs and resources. For example, sensors that transmit data from a heating system can detect problems in real time so that they can be remedied as quickly as possible. And it is precisely these savings that protect the environment. Accordingly, the introduction of the digital twin results in less environmental pollution. In relation to the advancing climate change, this is a special reason why we love the Digital Twin. Here you can find more information about the Digital Twin and climate protection.
Example: With the help of compatible sensors that are networked with the heaters, the data can be read out from a central location. It is thus possible for the facility manager to identify problems and to localize the affected heating system directly. He can then call a craftsman and provide him with the data. This saves time, money and simplifies communication with one another. In the best case scenario, solving the problem quickly reduces heating costs and is therefore kind to the environment.
Digitization is gaining more momentum, which is why it is becoming increasingly important to use digital solutions. The many advantages that a digital twin brings with it also make it very relevant for the future. With it, sustainable competitive advantages can be developed through higher efficiency, quality and flexibility.
There are certainly various ways of using a digital twin in your company. Contact us, and we will advise you in which form a digital twin is a good solution for you.