Digital twins present the fast track to increased productivity

Digital twins are not a new thing. Companies have been using a virtual representation of a physical asset for years, but it’s only with the Internet of Things (IoT) that they’ve become truly accessible and cost-effective, writes Maurizio Canton

Essentially the role of the digital twin is to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world and by crossing that bridge, more companies are harnessing these digital doppelgangers to achieve the twin effect of boosting productivity and cutting waste. Traditionally the only way to monitor production equipment was through physical monitoring of mechanical results. This was of course vastly labour-intensive and resulted in a significant drain on time. However, its main drawback was the fact that it gave designers few chances to change their prototype. With opportunities for changes during the process limited, the finished product could often not be fit for purpose, resulting in massive expense and time wasted.

The twins are born

Today micro-sensors and software have combined to create a system of micro-management for manufacturing production lines which has reaped substantial efficiency dividends. These savings and advances are achieved through a joint operation, where these twin forces measure every tiny aspect of a physical device and use this intelligence to recreate it in digital form, somewhere in the cloud. This virtual representation of each physical device is known as its digital twin.

The author, Maurizio Canton, is the chief technology officer for EMEA at TIBCO

Having digitally twinned a device, manufacturers are afforded the luxury of being able to test it and amend it through the entirety of the production process. The virtual modelling means that once a prototype is ready for manufacture, it will be much closer to perfection than under the old system. The fine tuning does not stop there, as intelligence can be fed back from the product throughout its lifetime.

This means that manufacturers are then able to not only reduce development time and costs, but to also move into the area of being able to predict failure scenarios and potential downtime – an insight that provides a significant and valuable step forward.

Overcome complexity

The entire production system can benefit from the efficiencies of digital twinning and when one vendor has complete dominance of a vertical market the digital twin approach is relatively easy. However, if these benefits could be extended to the entire supply chain, the gains could be enjoyed by the wider economy. But this doesn’t come without its challenges; in fact, the involvement of multiple vendors and new manufacturing techniques makes for a far more challenging environment.

So, how can these complexities be overcome? First and foremost, it is imperative to assist small suppliers as they look to adopt a digital approach. One such example in the US is the government’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), which is funding an appeal for examples of digital twinning by supply-chain participants. If all supply chain participants commit to adopting digital-twin models with their suppliers and partners, the mutual benefits could be immense

Machine to machine harmony

It is the need for machine-to-machine harmony that has inspired vendors such as TIBCO to make strides in integrating devices made for the IoT. The digital twin is very much a child of Industry 4.0, the rise in big data and IoT. Indeed, the impact of the digital twin has been massively boosted by recent breakthroughs in industrial connectivity and machine intelligence and will continue to be the technology of choice for digitalising the physical world.

FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more
RECENT ARTICLES

Snow Software study uncovers the realities vs. the promises of cloud

Posted on: October 26, 2021

26 October, 2021 –Snow Software, the global provider of technology intelligence, unveiled findings from its most recent survey, based on the input from more than 500 IT leaders from organisations with over 500 employees in the United States and United Kingdom to determine the current state of cloud infrastructure.

Read more

CloudM announces Archive feature which save businesses time and money while meeting compliance demands

Posted on: October 26, 2021

CloudM, a SaaS data management platform, has announced the launch of Archive, a new feature which allows users to easily, automatically, and safely store and recover user data, helping businesses to remain compliant without facing the mounting user license fees associated with traditional archiving and ediscovery solutions.

Read more