Applications of Digital Twin

Table of Contents

The connection between BIM and the digital twin

The BIM working method can serve as a preparation to create a digital twin. With supporting CAFM software, sensors and IoT in a building, a digital twin can be formed. This is the virtual image of a building. The attached sensors enable the current and identical representation on a screen. This means that the actual state of the building can be retrieved at any time. Furthermore, data from the operating phase, such as information about maintenance work, can be collected. By collecting and retrieving the data, inspections can be minimized. Predictive forecasts about the condition of the building can also be made. These are just a few impressions of how a digital twin can be used. For more information and benefits, click here.

How does the Digital Twin Play a Key Role in the Digitization of Industry?

When the term Digital Twin is mentioned, the most common association is its use in a large industrial hall – and that is exactly right. With its use, it enables companies to gain a significant competitive advantage. This is achieved by making work processes more effective and largely automated. Digital Twin ensures reduced information losses. Among other things, costs are saved, and communication channels are simplified. The maintenance of machines or large production facilities is carried out easily. It is a welcome tool for the facility manager. For repairs or maintenance work in huge halls, the digital twin saves a lot of work. Thanks to digital twin, it is possible to directly locate the object to be repaired. Maintenance can be carried out more quickly, which in turn saves time and money. In addition, the officers know which tools are required. Appointments that deal with the repair process can thus be shortened enormously or even omitted completely.

Another enormously important area of the digital twin is the virtual simulation of operating processes. With simulation or virtual commissioning, throughput times can be reduced. In addition, errors can be detected and improved at an early stage, thanks to virtual simulation. After all, the later an error is corrected in the production process, the higher the cost factor. Thus, the identification of errors before commissioning using virtual simulation results in considerable cost savings. The digital twin can, therefore, be seen as a key element to the benefits of Industry 4.0, because it can be used to implement various application scenarios efficiently.

Which Areas of Industry Can Benefit From the Digital Twin?

The digital twin is indispensable for industry. It not only allows you to monitor many products over their lifecycle, but also makes work and all communication channels easier. You can read about the benefits of the Digital Twin, in various areas, in the following paragraphs.

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Construction and Real Estate

The application of a digital twin in the real estate sector starts with the planning of a building. With the help of the state-of-the-art technology, the construction can be virtually represented even before it is built. This visualization creates a higher level of imagination for the upcoming construction and improves communication between all stakeholders. Problems that arise are identified easily and can be dealt with, faster. In addition, all information, such as general progress or changed plans, can be accessed via the digital twin’s platform. With this increased transparency, it offers an innovative way to better organize the entire planning process via the 3D model. Once construction is complete, including the installation of sensors, the Digital Twin can provide an image of the actual state over the entire life cycle.

But its use is not only useful for new buildings. The Digital Twin is also a great help during renovations or restructuring. Planners usually struggle with outdated plans. With a digital twin, all information is up-to-date and directly accessible. This means that surprises can be avoided during a renovation and costs and deadlines can be met.

Production Facilities and Logistics

If development and production are spread over several locations, this poses a particular challenge. Thanks to the virtual simulation of an operating process, this production process can be improved. Using a digital twin shortens the process and reduces the error rate-  saving time and money. The digital twin can also virtually represent an entire logistics network. It contains information about the locations, such as capacities, and thus enables decentralized control, monitoring and optimization of all steps via a central interface.

Facility Manager

The use of a digital twin facilitates the work of a facility manager enormously. Thanks to simulations, maintenance work on machines or entire buildings can be carried out more easily. For example, the digital twin can predict when lamps or fire extinguishers need to be replaced. The date for maintenance can also already be calculated for the future and not only when the device is broken.

Mobility

The digital transformation has also arrived in the air transport industry. So far, however, it is still in the development phase. Especially in safety-critical processes such as air traffic control, paper and pencil are still used if necessary. But here, too, digital technology such as the digital twin has the potential to optimize established processes. In the distant future, a fully digital representation of the apron at airports would be a desirable solution. The digital twin will then be an up-to-date representation of traffic events in a control center. Another option is the simulation function for pilots to test the effect an instruction has on the situation on the apron. The use of a digital twin is also conceivable for the medium and long-term planning of taxiways. However, a lot of research is still required for this project.

The digital twin is also used in the automotive industry. It represents the complete car, the software, mechanics and electrics. This makes it possible to simulate each development step in order to detect possible errors, even before the components are manufactured. For example, the material behavior, heat development or air flow can be simulated. Using the digital twin saves time and money, as the number of prototypes can be significantly reduced. In addition, it is possible for different disciplines to work on a project at the same time.

A similar application is also feasible for Deutsche Bahn. The digital twin provides data on the current operating status of a physical object, such as a wagon. With the use of sensors, environmental measurements that influence the object, such as ambient temperature or humidity, are also possible. This data is collected and analyzed, from which recommendations can be derived that can be used in decision-making.

The Digital Twinning Process at DiConneX

Once a company has decided on digital transformation, this is accompanied by a holistic change in the basic structure and business processes. Therefore, when implementing a digital twin, particular attention should be paid to planning and communication. For a better overview, we have divided our process to a retrievable Digital Twin into three steps: the target and added value analysis, the process analysis and the process monitoring.

The first step involves detailed planning of your goals. If you have not defined a specific goal, your decisions will become less effective. It is also important to work in an agile way. We support you in filtering out your goals and working in an agile manner, as the digitization of your organization demands a certain adaptability. In the process analysis, we create a complete and detailed documentation of your processes. It serves as the basis for the transformation of the existing processes. Since all digitization processes are different, we recommend implementing the digital twin step by step. This also simplifies the acceptance of your employees for the project. In the third step, process monitoring, a target-performance comparison analysis is carried out. Old processes are compared with the new digital processes. The difference between the costs incurred before and after the use of the digital twin can be assessed in this way. This makes it possible to calculate the return on investment (ROI). Depending on the case and due to the long-term impact of the digital twin, implementation costs can be offset in the short or medium term. The creation and implementation of a digital twin is an intensive process. We support you on this way.

You can find more information about our use cases here:

Through the digital transformation, almost all areas in our lives are being digitized. The digital twin is the ideal tool for industry. We are sure that the digital twin will have a promising future and are constantly working to develop innovative solutions for your project. We are happy to advise you and accompany you on your way into the digital age.

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