A digital twin is a virtual representation created to replicate a physical object accurately. A wind turbine, for instance, is equipped with various sensors connected to key functional regions. These sensors generate information about a variety of performance characteristics of the physical device, including energy output, temperature, environmental conditions, and more. The processing system then applies this information to the digital copy.
After being provided with this information, the virtual model can be used to run simulations, investigate performance problems, and provide potential enhancements, all with the aim of producing insightful information that can then be applied to the original physical thing.
According to Extrapolate, the Global Digital Twin Market Size is expected to reach USD 89.45 Billion by 2030, recording a CAGR of 34.48% from 2022 to 2030. This number clearly indicates the robust growth anticipated for the market.
History of digital twin technology
David Gelernter's 1991 novel Mirror Worlds, which introduced the concept of digital twin technology, was the first to do so. However, Dr. Michael Grieves, who was then a professor at the University of Michigan, is credited with introducing the idea of digital twins in manufacturing and formally establishing the idea of digital twin software in 2002. In the end, NASA's John Vickers coined the phrase "digital twin" in 2010.
The basic concept of using a digital twin to analyze a physical object, however, was actually realized much earlier. In fact, it is accurate to say that NASA was the first to use digital twin technology during its space exploration missions in the 1960s when each traveling spacecraft was precisely replicated in an earthbound version that NASA personnel serving on flight crews used for study and simulation purposes.
Benefits and advantages of digital twins
Utilizing digital twins produces a wealth of data regarding expected performance results, facilitating more efficient product research and creation. Before beginning production, businesses can use this data to gain insights that will help them make the necessary product improvements.
Digital twins can aid in monitoring and mirroring production systems even after a new product has entered production, aiming to reach and maintain peak efficiency throughout the whole manufacturing process.
Digital twins can also assist producers in determining how to handle products that have reached the end of their useful lives and require final processing, such as recycling or other actions. They can decide which product materials can be gathered by utilizing digital twins.
Which Industries Can Use Digital Twins?
Despite the benefits that digital twins provide, not every company or every product made needs to employ them. Not all objects are intricate enough to require the continuous and intensive influx of sensor data that digital twins demand. Additionally, it is not always advantageous financially to devote a considerable amount of resources to the development of a digital twin. (Remember that a digital twin is an exact clone of a physical object, thus making one might be expensive.)
However, using digital models for a variety of applications does have certain distinct advantages:
- Physically substantial projects buildings, bridges, and other intricate structures are subject to stringent engineering regulations.
- Machinery applications: projects using complicated machinery vehicles, jet turbines, and aircraft. Digital twins can contribute to increased productivity in massive engines and intricate machinery.
- Powered machinery: This covers both the power generation and transmission systems.
- Manufacturing initiatives: Similar to industrial settings with cooperative machine systems, digital twins are excellent at enhancing process efficiency.
When you are not physically present with a system, how do you operate, maintain, or repair it?
That was the difficulty the research division of NASA had to deal with when creating systems that would travel beyond the range of physical observation or control. And when Apollo 13 ran into trouble, the invention of mirror systems that were still on Earth enabled engineers and astronauts to figure out how they could save the trip. Today, NASA employs digital twins to create new guidelines, plans, and upcoming cars and planes.
Why is the technology of digital twins important?
Digital twins are effective masterminds for boosting performance and innovation. Think of it as having the most skilled product technicians you have access to the most cutting-edge monitoring, analytical, and predictive tools. IDC forecasts that by 2018, businesses that invest in digital twin technology will see a 30% improvement in the cycle times of crucial processes.
Within the next five years, digital twins will represent billions of items. These substitutes for the physical world will create new chances for interaction between data scientists, whose job it is to comprehend what data says us about operations, and product specialists who specialize in the physical world.
By better understanding consumer demands, developing improvements to current products, operations, and services, and even driving the innovation of new businesses, digital twin technology aids businesses in enhancing the customer experience.
For instance, GE's "digital wind farm" revealed new productivity-boosting opportunities. Prior to construction, GE leverages the digital environment to inform the configuration of each wind turbine. By examining the data from each turbine that is fed to its virtual equivalent, it seeks to increase efficiency by 20%.
IoT startup owned by Jahangir Mohammed was sold for US$1.4 billion. He now desires that each of us have a digital twin.
This five-year-old firm appears to be setting new standards with US$195 million in funding, hundreds of diabetic and hypertension patients in remission, and the creation of the first Whole Body Digital Twin.
Mohammed and his two co-founders set out to create the first Whole Body Digital Twin (WBDT) using knowledge gained from the IoT industry. It is derived from the idea of a "digital twin" used in the industrial sector, which is a virtual version of a real-world system or object that is linked to the digital world by sensors collecting data from it.
Another instance of digital twins winning integration is in India. India may soon join the ranks of nations and cities that have created digital twins to improve their efficiency, coordination, and governance, including Singapore, Yingtan in China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Auckland, Helinski, and US states like Boston, Colorado, and Orlando.
Another field where digital twins were utilized was in the recreation of the gigantic Titanic. The first full-size 3D scan of the Titanic has been made by researchers as part of the largest underwater 3D capture operation ever and it was carried out by the Atlantic Production team. The digital doppelganger of the Titanic displays the disaster's aftermath with a level of clarity and detail that has never been seen before.
What is the Future of digital twins Look Like?
There is little doubt that current operational paradigms are undergoing a major transformation. Asset-intensive businesses are experiencing a disruptive digital reinvention that is redefining operating models and necessitating an integrated physical plus digital view of assets, equipment, buildings, and processes. A crucial component of that realignment is digital twins.
Due to the ongoing allocation of more and more cognitive resources to their utilization, the potential of digital twins is almost endless. Digital twins are able to continue to produce the insights required to improve products and streamline operations since they are always acquiring new knowledge and abilities.
Digital twin technology is used to 3D reproduce a number of buildings, locations, and individuals for a wide range of industries in addition to scanning the Titanic's shipwreck. To better forecast and prevent player injuries, the NFL, for instance, uses digital twins to construct a virtual depiction of each NFL player. Some NFL stadiums also allow daily administration and game-day operations with a virtual model of the facility.
Digital twins are used by architects to increase productivity and security. The first ropeless elevator for a high-rise building was built by TK Elevator and Microsoft Azure using a digital twin. Instances like testing emergency brakes, which would have been expensive and time-consuming in the actual world, were simulated by the digital counterpart.
The use of digital twin technologies has the potential to bring about a number of important advantages, including decreased maintenance costs, data-driven change, product creation, and machine control. They are consequently fast gaining acceptance and popularity across numerous industries.