Years ago NASA had two identical sets of computers and other equipment – one on Earth, second in rocket in space. Thanks to this solution people on Earth were able to better help astronauts in case of some serious issues, because they could try different solutions in their lab and after successful implementation, instruct astronauts what to do. Maybe not all of us are astronauts or space engineers, but this type of solution nowadays becomes more and more popular and is called Digital Twin.
WHAT DIGITAL TWIN IS ALL ABOUT?
Digital Twin is a virtual model of system, service, process or product. What is the most amazing, Twins can monitor and control the state of the “thing” they represent. Digital Twin is based on virtual and augmented reality, 3D graphic and data modelling. There are various kinds of Digital Twins, some of them use IIoT Platform and Analytics, other additionally some Cloud Applications and Real-time IIoT Simulations and the most advanced work using Blockchain and AI technology.
Digital Twin is sometimes called a “bridge between the physical and digital world”. Shortly, it is a data informed model of your system. MarketsandMarkets global forecast predicts that in 2025 Digital Twin market will be worth almost $36 billions with 45% CAGR during the period 2019-2025.
HOW DOES A DIGITAL TWIN WORK?
It works by method see-think-do. On the first stage – see – the model gets different data from its IoT sensors, updates old information and learns from all gathered data. It uses past data about historical performance, real-time data and future predictions – created by machine learning algorithms or delivered as an input from engineers. The next stage – think – is when we ask our model about some emerging problems and their possible solutions and when we get answers for these questions – we can do it thanks to the use of AI technology. During the last stage – do – the model informs us about progress and executes what needs to be done, to complete the plan. When we want, we can ask the model and see the virtualization of the problem using the AR headset.
DIGITAL TWIN INFLUENCE ON INDUSTRIES
Digital Twin solutions are used in different industries, in some of them they give a lot of benefits during the production process. This technology is especially important for pharma It enables scientists to simulate different chemical mixes to find the right one, before starting live production. According to data from Atos, this technology causes savings up to 20% due to reduced waste and ensures higher quality of products. They also say that every year 2-3 million deaths are prevented due to vaccination, so it is really important to speed the whole process even more, to help more people.
Also healthcare can benefit from Digital Twin – we can have much more personalized treatment. Imagine that every patient has their own twin, on which doctors can experiment different ideas about their treatment and only when they are sure about the results, they implement it on the patient. What is important, already John Hopkins hospital accepts patients 60% faster due to Digital Twin technology.
Next big industry which can gain a lot from Digital Twin is manufacturing. It is extremely useful for engineers that the twin exists before its physical counterpart does. They can check their different ideas at no cost. What’s more, twins can facilitate the customization of products. As an example, we can mention MAN Truck – a company which is now exploring use of connected and smart devices, as well as building their own Digital Twin. They are trying to build a prototype of the truck, which would combine a lot of useful information about products like GPS location with information from manufacturing. The gathered information would be used to forsight where and when some issues in their products can occur and to prevent them.
BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING DIGITAL TWIN
- Lower costs of production – this technology can itself find and recommend us better solutions for different problems. It also reduces a lot of waste for example in the pharma industry.
- Digital Twin thanks to all data it gathered, can identify problems even before they occur, inform us about them and find solutions, which will prevent these problems.
- Improve customers’ experience for example by enabling customization. It also enables virtual troubleshooting and customer support.
- Because this solution requires a lot of sensors and gathers data from them, we have easy access to information and can learn a lot about our manufacturing process in real-time for example about production lines.
As we saw, Digital Twin is maybe not the newest discovery, but thanks to IoT sensors and cloud, it becomes more and more useful and popular. It can lower our costs and make better predictions about future behaviour of our machines. It’s our futures tool, so let’s go and try it, before your market competition will overtake you!