Digital twinning creates new possibilities across industries

Lueder News

There’s much to be said about “digital twinning” and its applications, according to local professionals.

Keith Fix, CEO at Retail Aware, said digital twinning, which is the process of creating a digital representation of a physical object or system, is often designed by data science experts, where a computerized mathematical model is created that simulates real world.

“Sensor date from real-world counterparts play a critical role in making the digital twin an accurate representation,” he said.

Manufacturing has the furthest adoption, with plane manufacturers using these models for the longest time, but now Fix said it has the ability to be accessible to more industries to make other products and systems safer, better and stronger.

This will become even more critical for the automotive industry as more cars become autonomous.

Other opportunities exist in health care and retail. For example, grocery brands use Retail Aware shelf date to design a product and know exactly how it will perform before it hits store shelves.

“Digital twinning isn’t necessarily a new concept, what is new is that IoT sensors and modeling tools are more accessible than ever,” he said.

In complicated environments such as farming, Jesse Vadnais, marketing and communications manager at RealmFive, said there are a massive number of individual contributors that drive decision-making.

“If we see automation as the end goal, then we will need to be able to pull all of those contributors into one platform in order to drive decision-making,” he said. “We feel that digital twinning is the first commercial step toward a more efficient and effective future.”

At first, he said this might be as easy as using a simple device to know whether a bin fan is on or not.

“Something as simple as that can provide value for the user, while also beginning to build the digital fingerprint of the operation,” he said. “As more devices are brought online, we can begin to provide partial automation. The biggest value of full automation depends on bringing many different parts of an operation from as many manufacturers into one digital platform. At RealmFive, we make sure this process is simple, reliable and scalable in order to help our customers expand their operation digitally.”

In construction, Andy Gradoville, virtual design and construction manager at Lueder Construction, said digital twinning means a building information model (BIM), which is usually created by the project design team and includes digital models of the architectural, structural and mechanical systems of the building.

According to Gradoville, the applications of digital twinning in the construction industry can include visualization of the building on a proposed site and provide real-time data to stakeholders virtually, online, to aid in decision-making and saving time and cost of non-essential travel to site.

Kyle Jenkins, VDC engineer at Lueder Construction, said digital twinning in construction is just in its infancy.

“The increasing advances in the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), embedded sensors and other technologies will undoubtedly continue to disrupt the construction industry in the future,” he said. “Lueder Construction is, and will continue to be, a leader in advancing the use of technology in construction and bringing its benefits to our clients.”

Tim Tiensvold, director of virtual design and construction at MCL Construction, said the inception of the twin begins during the design phase with the 3D model, design documents and specifications.

“MCL facilitates further development during construction when the associated equipment, fixtures and controls are selected and coordinated within the model,” he said.

“The model and project data are then compiled by MCL and handed over to the client for building operations.”

Digital twinning has the potential to inform future design and optimization of processes.

“Utilizing the data collected on past projects ensures our clients’ resulting structure meets their functional requirements, quality expectations and achieves maximum durability,” he said. “Creating a digital twin is a massive undertaking from both a labor and financial perspective and requires a robust system of support to maintain. When done correctly, the twin provides substantial return by facilitating sound decision-making when it comes to process and system modifications throughout the lifecycle of the structure.”

By Gabby Christensen, Midlands Business Journal