Digital Twins: The Great Enablers of Our Times

Digital Twins: The Great Enablers of Our Times
Digital Twins: The Great Enablers of Our Times

Search Google for “Digital Twin” and you’ll get about 460 million results. Virtual models of physical objects and systems—such as buildings, control systems, cars or infrastructure—are the darlings of digitalization, the killer apps of industrial computing.

Analytics company Marketscreener and its subsidiary GlobalData have reported a significant rise in the adoption of Digital Twins in key sectors. More industry sectors now recognize that by drawing on complementary tech and resources such as AI, the Internet of Things and Big Data, they can use Digital Twins to build new products and get them right the first time, says Kiran Raj, principal disruptive tech analyst at GlobalData.

Digital Twins can “also monitor existing assets, optimize maintenance, reduce downtime, or check carbon emissions,” says Raj. “They are already revolutionizing industries including construction, energy, architecture, aerospace, automotive and transportation.”

Raj named COVID-19 and efficient integration as the reasons behind increased adoption and says Digital Twin technology has gained a lot of traction in the last few years due to accelerated digitalization across industries. In addition, start-ups have the capacity to provide off-the-shelf and bespoke Digital Twin solutions that enterprises in various industries can quickly integrate into their business operations. Leading segments include:
 

  • Oil and Gas: Oil and gas companies are leveraging Digital Twins to see how a process or system works in an offshore environment by creating analytical and predictive models. Norway’s  Kongsberg has developed a dynamic Digital Twin platform that allows users to explore assets, both offshore and onshore, in a virtual context. It combines a real-time sensor, historical and business data to virtually simulate various operational scenarios to help optimize the performance of assets and reduce downtime.
  • Automotive: In addition to industry use for designing virtual replicas of new car models to identify potential problems, German startup TWAICE creates Digital Twins of EV (electric vehicle) batteries to monitor battery usage in real-time and help predict battery life and maintenance issues. The insights also help original equipment manufacturers and EV makers extend the life of lithium-ion batteries.
  • Infrastructure: Digital Twins are being used to simulate the impact of operational, environmental, and financial data on large-scale construction projects. This enables construction companies to assess the performance of relevant infrastructure in real-time and adjust operations to optimize efficiency. US startup Cityzenith developed a Digital Twin platform SmartWorldPro to create a virtual replica of buildings and infrastructure to help clients design, develop and run projects at any scale.

Raj from GlobalData Plc says the value of Digital Twins is reflected in its predicted growth: “Markets & Markets estimates that the Digital Twin market will grow from $3.1 billion in 2020 to $48.2 billion per year by 2026, at an annual CAGR of 58%.”
 

Examples and resources

Search Automation.com for “Digital Twin” and you’ll get 111 results, including articles like these from just the past year:

About The Author


Renee is the Chief Editor of InTech magazine and Automation.com.


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