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Digital Twins in Industry 4.0

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Digital twins are transforming industry at a remarkable pace. This cutting-edge technology allows businesses to create a simulated 3D replica of anything from a fully operational vehicle to a whole city.

This can give an insight into how a process or piece of machinery will work, whether it will be cost-effective and if it will be efficient – all with computer modeling.

The Benefits of Digital Twins for Industry

As we move on from the pandemic in terms of organization functionality there is an increasing awareness of the benefits of virtual reality for businesses. Directors and stakeholders can see how the business is performing overall and how to improve it using digital twin technology.

This mirrors reality without the need for costly production and manufacturing processes that might not benefit the organization. This virtual tool gives the ability to monitor current situations and predicts what may happen if changes occur.

A digital twin can create a single item or a whole production line or ecosystem. For example, a smart city wants to trial the introduction of shared bicycles and e-scooters. Creating a digital twin of the city can be used to monitor the benefits of introducing this form of transport and how it is influenced by factors such as peak traffic times or urban development.

Other key benefits of digital twins include:

  • Improved and faster productivity
  • Enhanced reliability
  • Reduced downtime
  • Cost-effective trialing of new ideas
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Streamlined supply and distribution chains

All of these lead to the potential for increased profits.

However, digital twin technology isn´t new. Probably the most famous example of successful digital twinning is that of NASA’s incredible Apollo 13 rescue mission, over 50 years ago (more details). After the engine damage caused by the explosion in the oxygen tanks the spacecraft was floating uncontrollably further from the earth, according to USRA.edu.

Technicians used digital twin modeling in conjunction with the simulator to replicate the situation on the craft and create a way to bring it back to earth safely. 

Why Apply Digital Twin Technology?

One of the key reasons to apply digital twin technology is that it can make predictions without having to undertake the expense and time needed to create a real product. This reduces the risk to the business and helps improve performance. 

This form of technology can detect problems before they happen, which is not only a cost-saving for organizations but keeps people safe.

Digital twins have a major advantage for monitoring environmental impact, which is crucial as the world’s climate changes rapidly. Weather patterns can be monitored to predict what may happen in a flood or extreme heat, wind speed can be recorded to anticipate power generation at wind farms, and sunlight captured by solar panels can be registered to forecast electrical output.

In addition, creating virtual models of vehicles and factories reduces carbon emissions and promotes the production of sustainable energy. Plus, with more people now working remotely the use of digital twins means there is no need to travel to work on a physical product or system.

The Future of Digital Twins

As technology develops rapidly so will the use of digital twins in industry. As the concept becomes more popular and awareness rises so will the deployment of this smart technology.

It can completely reshape the way industry and our daily lives work, for the better. The potential for digital twins in any organization is immense, from the smallest companies to major global networks, from retail businesses to the tech industry and medical research.

Digital twins are shaping the future of industry by eliminating the need for costly real-world testing and allowing organizations to ‘double up’ on all their activities by creating virtual worlds.

Last Updated: September 20, 2022

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