5 Clear Benefits of Digital Twins and Their Place in the Modern Factory
Artists often work with a scale model of whatever they’re creating. It helps them perfect the details and plan their approach, so when they start working on the real thing, everything is precise perfection. In many ways, the concept of a digital twin is the same. As factories go digital and expand their digital ecosystems, digital twins are proving an important part of operations planning, asset assessment, and so much more.
What’s a digital twin?
A digital twin is a copy of something in the physical world. Much like an artist’s scale model, it serves as the experimental playground for perfecting the real thing. Take a stamping machine, for example. The digital twin is a schematic representation of the machine, with a complete profile of information about its function and history. It tells operators and managers everything they need to know about the physical counterpart — when it was last serviced, how many cycles per day it completes, factory specifications, etc.
Factory managers use digital twins as a tool for asset management. They can glean a lot of information about how to optimize their equipment from them. How much are we spending on machine maintenance each year? What’s the machine’s age versus factory recommended service? It’s all useful data for managing equipment. When there are decisions to be made or questions about service, the digital twin has answers. It’s a living record.
The benefits of digital twins
Digital twins are an everyday convenience and a boon to decision-making. But more than that, they offer tangible benefits to improve factory operations.
- Improved efficiency. No more flipping through charts and ledgers or dipping into archives for a machine’s history. Digital twins offer all the vital information you need at your fingertips. Decision-making, maintenance, and referencing become instantly more efficient.
- Quality management. The more you know about your equipment, the easier it is to execute against quality control demands. There’s less guesswork, which means better expectation-setting and improved quality outlook to ensure machinery is serviced and maintained properly.
- Optimized MRO. Thinking about moving to a proactive or condition-based maintenance schedule? Digital twins not only make it easier; they make it possible as you scale into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Diverse data at your fingertips is the key to better maintenance execution.
- Collaboration. Need to collaborate with an OEM service tech or a partner repair professional? Give them the information they need to service your machine flawlessly by allowing them access to the digital twin. Everyone works from the same page, toward the same goals.
- Consistency. Through the available data they provide, digital twins open the door for more consistent maintenance and repair. Any tech can instantly see the service standards and record for equipment. This sets the standard for the next service and the one after it, and so on until it becomes the rule.
Adopting digital twin technology
Digital twins are a foundational part of the IIoT and one of the best investments a manufacturer can make as they segue into Industry 4.0. Their inherent benefits offer superior ROI and set the tone for world-class maintenance standards, made possible by a digital support system.