With the rapid growth of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, the significance of the concept of a digital form of a physical object has attracted people’s attention in recent times. Gartner evaluated that by the end of 2017, there will be nearly 8.4 Billion connected devices because of which it is difficult for the traditional processes and tools to understand the velocity and volume of digital data from IoT systems.
Hence, Digital Twin, which is combined with machine learning and advanced analytical tools is the best one that overcomes the drawbacks of traditional tools. In simple words, Digital Twin is a virtual model of physical objects, systems, and processes that can be employed for different purposes.
Why Digital Twin is Important?
Digital twin is generally built during the design and manufacturing process but remains functional over the entire lifecycle of the product. Once the product is placed in the field, the digital twin provides the maintenance and service functions of the product exclusively. It also schedules the predictive and preventive maintenance activities including tooling and calibration management by analyzing the products performance and current status.
It is clear that digital twin technology is very effective and valuable, as it enhances the maintenance operations for all types of equipment and machinery products. As Industrial IoT data is increasing rapidly, digital twin is becoming more useful and important in promoting the development of product design and support. Moreover, professionals can coordinate with each other under one platform, work efficiently and improve performance by reducing the errors with the help of this new technology.
Generally, IoT sensors analyze the gathered data to make the business verdicts better. But including digital twin in the operation helps businesses make a digital replica of the product and understand the real-world experiences of the product in its context. So, now let us have a look at how digital twin works and its applications.
How Digital Twin works:
Digital Twin technology bridges the gap between the physical world and digital world. It gathers data from sensors that track the working of a physical object and then employs algorithms that provide a deeper understanding and awareness about the future, based on the dynamic model respond technique. Sensors here alert the users if the machine is about to crash or if it fails, which saves a lot of cost and time particularly when using big machines. The machine learning process here doesn’t require any knowledge on machines operation. It just requires a learning phase to anticipate the system performance. To conclude, digital twin is an effective software model that generates digital information for digital products.
Industrial Applications of Digital Twin Technology:
In the beginning, it was implemented only in the manufacturing industry, but now we can find the digital twin applications in various fields and a few are listed below:
1. Automobile- Creates digital replica of a connected vehicle
Digital Twin in automobile sector helps to analyze the overall performance of the vehicle and the connected features as well. It is the best technology for building the digital replica of a connected vehicle.
- Hero Moto Corp was the first automobile company in India that started a project on Digital Twin in 2016 to make the changes and improvements digitally before spending money on physical facilities.
- NASA uses the digital twin technology to build the next generation space crafts which are completely impossible to track in the physical world i.e in real time.
2. Healthcare- Delivers high-quality services to patients
Digital Twins in the healthcare sector helps to deliver high-quality services to the patients. For instance, a surgeon can get the digital visualization of the heart with the help of digital twins before operating on the patient’s heart.
- Recently, Dassault introduced “The Living Heart” which is a heart of digital twin created over a period of 2 years.
- Surgeons at Bioengineering institute have built a digital lung that operates like a blood and flesh one with 300 million alveoli.
3. Retail- Offers best consumer experience
Customer experience plays an important role in any retail business. A digital twin enhances the customer services by designing modeling fashions and virtual twins for them. In addition, it also offers better security implementation, energy management, and in-store planning in an optimized way.
- Grundfos uses digital twin to serve their customers effectively through enhanced performance and product quality, optimised maintenance, improved development, productivity, and reduced overall risks and costs.
4. Smart Cities- Improves the economic development of a city
A city with digital twins is said to be smart in the digital race. It improves the economic management and development of resources and enhances the citizens’ life quality. Digital twin gathers the data to help city planners in achieving the desired results in the future as well.
- 3DEXPERIENCity i.e ‘Virtual Singapore’ is a project that is in progress now and is anticipated to be done by 2018. As Singapore’s population is growing at a rapid pace, this will help improve the status of its living environment.
5. Industrial Firms- Monitors and manages the industrial systems digitally
Industrial firms that are included with digital twins can track and manage the industrial systems virtually. Not only the operational data, a digital twin can also gather the environmental data such as configuration, location, financial models and more that helps in anticipating the future anomalies and operations.
- GE’s (General Electric) digital wind farm concept is the best example that shows how digital twins will enhance industrial performance. Digital wind farm helps to develop the structure of wind turbines before manufacturing.
GE has already carried out more than 5,00,000 digital twins throughout the production line codes. On the other hand, the Singapore government, in collaboration with 3D design software giant Dassault Systemes, is creating a digital replica of the country with an objective to improve the urban planning process.
In recent years, there has been an unexpected progress in the technologies and capabilities of both the physical product and virtual product, the Digital Twin. Digital Twin is generally driven by machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors, data and analytics and depends on the IoT technologies. Digital Twin IoT is therefore expected to improve industrial IoT deployments. Professionals also predict that more than 85% of digital twins will be adopted by all IoT platforms, within the next five years.