What components do digital twins need?
A virtual replica of a physical system, process or product, digital twin technology essentially provides a real-time look at how a physical asset is performing, and the concept is quickly being adopted in industries such as manufacturing, automotive and construction.
Consequently, organizations in these respective industries are using digital twin technology to evaluate the performance of given physical assets and then, identifying where improvements can be made to reach more favorable outcomes for the future.
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Analyzing research from Catapult based on a survey of engineers across a range of disciplines, digital marketing specialist Reboot Online sought to better understand the components they believe are most necessary for digital twin technology to function effectively.
The company found that a ‘physical asset’ (71 percent) is the component engineers think is the most necessary for a digital twin. Thereafter, 52 percent of the experts view a ‘live data set’ as an essential feature for the functionality of digital twins. 45 percent believe an ‘offline data set’ is a very important component for the technology.
Interestingly, with a digital twin being a pairing of the virtual and physical worlds, just 45 percent of engineers rated ‘3D representation’ as a must have variable for the technology. On a similar note, 31 percent state ‘2D graphic representation’ is needed for a digital twin to work properly.
Only 39 percent placed ‘trend analysis of historical data’ as a vital attribute for a digital twin. Even less felt ‘prediction of future events’ (32 percent) is a critical aspect that can push the technology to achieve desired objectives.
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Furthermore, Reboot Online also wanted to identify the stages in the product life cycle that can gain the greatest value from the integration and use of digital twins.
The company discovered that ‘maintenance, repair and operations’ (77 percent) is the stage in the product life cycle where majority of engineers believe digital twin technology adds the greatest value. Thereafter, engineers view ‘manufacturing’ (70 percent) as the next most likely process to benefit from the utilization of digital twin technology.
Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of engineers think digital twin technology can be harnessed during the ‘simulation’ of a model that predicts the current and future behaviour of a given physical asset. Slightly below, 60 percent feel digital twin technology can be highly practical for ‘quality control’ testing. Interestingly, while a similar amount considered digital twin to be impactful in the ‘design’ phase of a product/system.
Contrastingly, ‘finance and procurement’ (13%) is the step in the product life cycle which engineers think will be able to capitalize the least from the capabilities of digital twin technology. Just above, only 19 percent of engineers placed ‘sales and marketing’ as a key operation which can experience significant gains from deploying digital twins.
“We are in an era of rapid technological developments. At the forefront of that has been the rise and evolution of digital twins. With the technology having the ability to cover the entire life cycle of a physical system, process or product; it provides businesses with a powerful analytical tool which can thoroughly assess key performance indicators and provide insights as to where enhancements can be made,” said Naomi Aharony, the Managing Director of Reboot Online.
“In the long-run, the lessons and suggestions taken from digital twins will drive various opportunities for innovation and growth”.