What is Digital Twin Technology?

Digital twin technology. This is a term you may not be familiar with. Yet, the technology is not new in the technological world. Digital formats of items have been around for a while. You just didn’t realize the digital twin those formats created were called something specific. Today, I am going to share exactly what this technology is and why you need to know about it. 

What is Digital Twin Technology?

Digital twin technology is basically a digital representation of any process, service, or physical object. They are simulations that are created by computer programs that utilize real world data. Buildings, or entire cities, can be digitally created. 

A plane’s engine can be digitally created as well. Doing so can allow students to use the twin to see inside the engine and learn about the different parts. This is also an excellent way to learn how to repair that engine. 

As for services and processes, digital twins can be used to determine how well those services and processes work. The bonus is you get to learn how well they will continue to work for the long term.

How Do Digital Twins Work?

Mathematical models need to be created for digital twin technology. The experts that develop the math models, as well as those who create the digital twin, make sure the virtual computer can receive feedback. This feedback comes from all the data that is gathered from the real world. 

They mimics, while also simulating, everything that is taking place within the real version. This takes place in real time. This is perfect for detecting any potential problems that can happen without notice. 

The Challenges This Technology Has Solved

Digital twins are quite versatile. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that they have been used to solve multiple challenges so far. One type took models of hospitals and discovered procedural improvements. 

Efficiency improvements have been discovered for race cars. And corrosion resistance was found for all offshore wind turbines. 

In the future, a this technology will continue to help with prototype testing, product development, manufacturing improvements, and product lifestyle extensions. 

The Three Broad Types of This Technology

This technology can be utilized in many different scenarios. Therefore, the technology is broken down into three broad types. 

Digital Twin Prototype (DTP)

This type is used before any physical products are created. 

Digital Twin Instance (DTI)

Once a product is manufactured, digital twins are used to determine the different ways the product can be used.

Digital Twin Aggregate (DTA)

This technology utilizes DTI to not only determine what a product is capable of, but to also test operating parameters and run prognostics.

Where is it used?

There are many industries where this technology are used. The most common ones are:

  • Manufacturing – Additional streamlined processes
  • Automotive – Better product improvements
  • Retail – Improve the customer experience
  • Healthcare – Surgery training, lower risk of procedures, and patient flow
  • Disaster Management – Better infrastructures and improved emergency response plans
  • Smart Cities – Allows cities to become environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable

These industries have felt the impact of digital twins. Software analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have been successfully used to create better outcomes for almost all industry businesses. 

The Benefits of Digital Twins

The benefits of using this technology are dependent on where it is used and when it is used. When digital twins are used to monitor an existing product, maintenance burdens can be reduced. This equals thousands, or millions, of dollars saved in maintenance costs alone. 

Product defects are reduced when a digital twin is created as a prototype. This allows products to reach the market faster with fewer issues. 

Manufacturing requirements can be aligned with supply chain needs. This ensures there is enough products to meet demand. 

Other common benefits include:

  • Increased Reliability
  • Increased Availability
  • Improved Performance
  • Reduced Risk of Accidents
  • Lower Maintenance Costs
  • Ability to Predict Failure Before It Happens
  • Ensures Higher Product Quality
  • Reduced Unplanned Downtime 
  • Ability to View All Data

Not every business will see the benefits of digital twin technology. However, those that do will see an increase in profits. This is due to lower operating costs and other expenses. 

The Future for the Technology

The future is looking bright. Technology leaders for this industry include names we are all familiar with like IBM and Microsoft. Existing operating models are being changed to implement this newer technology. As use of digital twins grows, it is just going to offer even more benefits to those businesses that take advantage of it. 

If you haven’t looked into this technology yet, now is the time. Especially if you own your own business and are searching for a way to get ahead of your competitors. This technology might not be the only solution for a business. However, a digital twin can definitely lead a business in the right direction. 

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