Modern technology is improving industrial operations, and predictive maintenance and smart, low-cost sensors are improving efficiency
Determining the best way to combine technology with physical devices, however, is an ongoing process. The concept of “digital twins” is becoming a popular choice for creating a seamless interface between the real and virtual worlds.
What is a Digital Twin?
Sensors are great at collecting data on mechanical components, and databases can track how long specific parts have been in use to determine when replacements should be made. Digital twins take this concept further, creating a virtual counterpart to real-world components. Digital twins provide a valuable means of abstracting hardware monitoring and maintenance, and modern sensors, including Internet of Things devices, can instantly update digital twins, making each twin a valuable repository of information.
In an era where digital information capture is rising at a remarkable pace, visualization and filtering is becoming more important. Digital twins allow users to create their own visualization of equipment to see only the data needed to make decisions. Furthermore, users can compare components to uncover trends, providing a more intuitive approach compared to looking at raw numbers or statistical data. Automation is taking over a number of areas in industrial sectors, but humans will always be needed to make certain decisions. The intuitive and sophisticated abstraction provided by digital twins offers a more human-friendly approach.
Incorporating Human Expertise
Digital twins aren’t necessarily simulations of their physical counterparts, but the technology provides a convenient means of adding physical simulation to analysis and monitoring. Furthermore, presenting a 3D representation of digital components allows humans to apply their expertise more intuitively. A computer system might not track whether seemingly unconnected components can affect each other, and humans looking at raw data might not make the connection either. In many areas, humans are far superior to computers when it comes to finding patterns, and 3D models offer a way for people to do what they do best.
Expandable and Scalable
IoT networks are constantly expanding, and industrial entities will continue gathering more and more data as prices continue to drop and capabilities continue to increase. Digital twins serve as a valuable centerpiece to these designs, making it easier to incorporate new information. Scalability is always a factor when it comes to IoT and similar technologies. Armed with digital twins infrastructure, companies prepare themselves with a technology that handles large scaling issues in a graceful and human-friendly manner. Because digital twins put visualization first, new technology incorporated with existing digital twin technology will provide useful information.
Digital twins are already being used successfully to improve industrial operations and safety, and they’re allowing companies to make the most of their manufacturing equipment. Major analysts are already uncovering how companies can best use this relatively new concept; International Data Corporation, for example, has recently released their report, “IDC PlanScape: Digital Twins for Products, Assets, and Ecosystems,” which instructs companies how to best use this burgeoning technology. Although the concept of digital twins will continue to involve, the human-facing design of it also makes digital twins flexible. Companies can explore various means of implementing the concept to find out how to best maximize operations.