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What Is Digital Twin, and Why Is It Important to Manufacturing?

The digital twin refers to intelligent, real-time digital representations of physical systems, equipment, or products. Simply put, it is a 2D or 3D virtual version of the product used for automating performance monitoring and predictive maintenance.

A digital twin makes it feasible to capture the state of an object at a specific moment, validate the authenticity of an object by comparing it to its twin, monitor functional and diagnostic information, view how objects are moving over time, visualize how objects interact with each other in real time, and analyze trends.

It is expected that the digital twin market will overall grow at an exceptionally healthy CAGR of 60.6% between 2022 and 2027. And as it stands, its viability in the manufacturing sector is immense. Let’s explore that in more detail.

Why Is Digital Twin Important to Manufacturing?

Digital twin in manufacturing uses computer simulation to predict how a product will react to certain conditions. The digital twin is created by feeding data into a computer model, allowing designers and engineers to test their products before starting the manufacturing process.

As such, digital twins can be used for:

  • Predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve efficiency by optimizing asset performance
  • Simulating production and predicting its performance in the real world
  • Understanding better how products are designed, manufactured, serviced, deployed, and disposed of throughout their lifecycle
  • Helping manufacturers plan and execute operations more efficiently.

Here’s a more profound rundown of their importance.

1. Improving Production Quality

Properly built digital twins can be used to improve product quality and monitor the manufacturing process in real time. This allows companies to identify problems before they occur, which helps them ensure that all parts are built according to plan and are of the highest quality.

2. Improving Maintenance & Logistics

Digital twins can also help companies improve their maintenance strategies for machines – reducing downtime and the cost of repairs. A digital twin is helpful for evaluating any machine changes or upgrades so that new changes can be tested before they’re implemented on site.

3. Enhancing Operational Efficiency

The digital twin lets the manufacturers see the product as it develops, so they don’t have to run around in the factory or guess how the new product will turn out. They can see what’s going on and make adjustments before the physical product materializes.

4. Reducing Costs & Lead Time

When manufacturing, you want to reduce costs and lead times as much as possible. Digital twins can help with this by providing insights that enable making adjustments to improve the processes. For example, if the digital twin shows that it takes longer than expected for a product to be manufactured, then manufacturers can look at why it’s taking so long and make changes so that the process is faster. This will help reduce costs and lead times for manufacturing processes.

5. Improving the Manufacturing Process & OEE

Manufacturers often look for ways to improve their processes and increase efficiency. Digital twins can help them do this by providing data about how each machine performs, enabling predictive maintenance, and identifying which machines are working better than others.

Digital twins further provide valuable insights into the best processes and procedures for different equipment and production lines. This can help manufacturers identify inefficiencies they didn’t know existed before, allowing them to make adjustments aimed at increasing efficiency and profitability.

In fact, digital twins give manufacturers access to granular information about their equipment that would otherwise be challenging to obtain without physical inspection—such as temperature readings, vibrations, ambient noise levels, etc.

This allows them to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and identify problems early on and address them before they become an issue. This increases reliability and reduces downtime due to breakdowns or malfunctions of machinery or other equipment used throughout a production line or facility.

6. Empowering Workers

Since the digital twin acts as a single source of truth for all the IoT data, it allows manufacturers to monitor their workers’ performance more closely. This translates into a lot of benefits:

  • Enabling real-time insights into worker behavior
  • Opportunity to provide accurate training and feedback
  • Helping track productivity and improving the planning process
  • Enabling the development of customized reports for different business areas
  • Enhancing collaboration across business functions

7. Improving Productivity

This is a given considering all the aforementioned benefits. Digital twins let manufacturing companies visualize and analyze all their data, allowing them to make better decisions about how to improve productivity. For instance, if there are bottlenecks in production, they can pinpoint the anomalies and alleviate them. Or, if there’s a challenge or issue with one of their machines or workflows, they can fix it right away.

How Can Manufacturers Harness the Benefits of a Digital Twin?

Manufacturers can leverage the benefits of a digital twin by using it as a virtual model that allows them to simulate their production processes, test new designs and equipment, and evaluate potential changes. The digital twin can also be used as a communication tool between all levels of the supply chain so that everyone involved in the production process understands how each piece fits together.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Twin?

Digital Twins will continue to escalate as more companies see the benefits of having a digital replica of their real-world products. However, there are some challenges to overcome. One issue is that creating and maintaining a digital twin is still rather complicated — needs more research done on what makes up a digital twin and how those components work together.

Another challenge is that there’s no standard definition for a “digital twin.” This means that companies must determine what type of information they want from (or about) their products and then create processes for collecting it. Collaborating with an expert partner can help drive such a process.

In a Nutshell

Operating a factory or production line is a challenging task — precisely why manufacturers invariably look for ways to simplify the manufacturing process and reduce costs. Favorably, they now have the answer in the name of “Digital Twin.”

From both a manufacturer’s and consumer’s perspective, digital twin technology serves multiple purposes: it allows manufacturers to model, simulate and analyze day-to-day operations, as well as make changes to processes before they are implemented—which in turn leads to improved efficiency, reduced costs, and ultimately helps improve overall product quality.

Get in touch with us to learn more about implementing a Digital Twin.

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