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27 Jan 2021 | Industry Insights

Revolutionising industrial efficiency with a Digital Twin

Although it may seem like new technology, the concept of a digital twin has been around for nearly 20 years. The reason it seems new is because of the rise in Internet of Things (IoT) devices. More and more manufacturers are pushing smarter, and cheaper, IoT devices into consumer markets as well as industrial applications. One thing is for sure, the trend of creating a digital replica of the physical is here to stay.

The ‘things’ we can connect to the internet are growing exponentially and the data that is produced is growing with it. This data means we can build better and deploy faster without spending millions on testing and repairs.

Data is needed to drive decisions in order to make a digital twin beneficial. This could be something like choosing when to make crucial repairs, how a system will react to changes and when we expect the failure of parts within a system.

When properly optimised, the digital twin provides a testing ground for future development which, in turn, saves time and money over testing the physical representation. A digital twin has the ability to take a product from concept to launch within a matter of days or weeks rather than months or years.

Digital twins at work

Healthcare is one of the most exciting places where digital twin technology is thriving. Scientists are using sensors to monitor patients to produce digital models that can be monitored by doctors as well as artificial intelligence (AI), predicting the best care option for patients. There are examples of digital replicas of organs, complete with data collected from real-world patients, that allows surgeons to practice complex procedures in a simulated environment.

Stara are a manufacturer of agricultural machinery and they use a digital twin to analyse data that lets farmers make accurate decisions and react quickly to adverse weather conditions like storms. They have developed precise insights allowing farmers to react in moments to real-world data through utilising sensors that feed into the digital twin.

Singapore are studying complex social structures and services throughout the city-state via a digital twin. City planners are able to test solutions without the expense or risk of real-world rollouts due to the mountain of data they have collated. Singapore now acts as an ongoing test case and laboratory for innovation, discovering and implementing solutions on a large scale.