Digital Twin Technology: Function, Significance, and Benefits
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Digital Twin Technology: Function, Significance, and Benefits

By Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, February 14, 2020

The digital twin design, when designed correctly, can be used for connecting with backend business applications to obtain business outcomes in the context of supply chain operations like procurement, manufacturing, and warehousing.

FREMONT, CA: The digital twin technology can be termed as a technology, which is applicable to diverse environments, including but not restricted to product monitoring while in use and during their life cycle.

Digital Twin utilizes augmented and virtual reality along with graphics modeling and three-dimensional data for building a virtual model of a service, product, system, process, or another physical object. It is a replica of the physical world, while its status is maintained through updates on a real-time basis.

In manufacturing, a digital twin can be employed at different levels:

• Asset Level: To build a digital twin of a particular piece of a tool within a production line.

• Component Level: To highlight a highly crucial, single component within the manufacturing process.

• System Level: To enhance and monitor a complete production line.

• Process Level: To look at the general operation of manufacturing—from product design and development to production and from the distribution to the use of the end product by customers throughout the overall life cycle.

How Does Digital Twin Technology Work?

Three primary elements of digital twin technology include:

1. Past Data: Historical performance information of overall processes, individual machines, and specific systems.

2. Present Data: Data from device sensors, outputs from manufacturing operations and platforms, outputs from systems spreading across the distribution chain, and outputs from systems in additional business units, including customer service and purchasing on a real-time basis.

3. Future data: Inputs from machine learning and engineers.

Significance of Digital Twin Technology

Below is the importance of the digital twin technology with a few benefits:

1. Connection Disparate Systems: The digital twin design, when designed correctly, can be used for connecting with backend business applications to obtain business outcomes in the context of supply chain operations like procurement, manufacturing, and warehousing.

2. Visibility: The technology facilitates visibility in the services of machines, devices, and in the larger interconnected systems such as manufacturing plants and an airport.

3. What-If Analysis: It becomes easy to network with the model through properly planned interfaces and make queries for the what-if questions to the mold. This can be done for simulating various conditions that might be otherwise unfeasible to create in real life.

4. Helps with Explaining and Understanding Actions: A digital twin model can be implemented as a communication and documentation mechanism for explaining as well as understanding the actions of a collection of a machine or an individual machine.

Concept behind Digital Twin Technology

The idea of a digital twin consists of three critical parts:

1. Virtual products in virtual space.

2. Physical products in a real setting.

3. The connected data that ties the physical and virtual products together.

Academia and industry view this notion in different ways. Some classify it as the digital representation of a particular asset in the field that provides live information from installed sensors depending on past and current configuration states such as software versions, serialized parts, and others. On the other hand, IT and service-based firms define this theory as an integrated virtual model of a definite physical asset that can mirror all the manufacturing defects and offer constant updates on the live condition of the asset currently in use.

Benefits of Digital Twin Technology

Digital twin technologies tender a wide range of benefits, including:

1. Faster production times.

2. Improved customer service.

3. More proficient delivery and supply chains.

4. Enhanced productivity and operational efficiencies.

5. Offering remotely configuring customized items to customers.

6. Reduced maintenance costs.

7. Prediction of maintenance problems before the occurrence of breakdowns.

8. Better Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) through minimized downtime.

9. Showing superior reliability of equipment lines and production.

10. Improved profits on a sustaining basis.

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