7 Reasons Manufacturers Should Invest in Digital Twins
As manufacturers build out their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and invest in connected technologies, the need for a digital twin becomes inevitable. Digital twins are the virtual representation of a factory and the many assets within it, made real by streaming data from IIoT and other sources. Digital twins exist as a sort of data repository: connected devices feed into it, and integrated software and applications pull data from it. The digital twin itself is the vital foundation for managing the growing pool of factory data.
Because digital twins act as a foundation for the multitudes of free-flowing data within modern factories, it’s becoming increasingly important to architect them accordingly. Built right and actively managed, digital twins have the potential to produce significant return on investment for factories looking to leverage the power of big data.
Here’s a look at seven reasons manufacturers should invest in digital twins and what the significance of this investment looks like in the context of benefits.
- De-siloed manufacturing data. Data-driven decision-making only works when manufacturers have access to all the data. As a repository, digital twins take factory data out of silos and bring it to processes, applications, and insights with full context.
- Real-time access to data. Thanks to networked sensors mapped to the digital twin, factory managers and maintenance technicians can see exactly how any given part of the factory is performing at a specific point in time. It’s the precursor to real-time problem solving.
- Asset maintenance capabilities. Digital twins serve an important role in asset management by providing important context for informed maintenance decisions. Access the twin from a tablet on the floor to see if X machine is due for Y service, for example.
- Optimize maintenance efforts. In addition to more active asset maintenance, optimized asset maintenance is possible through a digital twin. Aggregate data and patterns within the twin can show you what you don’t know, so you can be proactive in your maintenance efforts.
- Data trending and patterns. The broad, de-siloed data of digital twins makes it easy to spot patterns and understand trends to create better processes and practices using a more holistic data model. Twins quantify the tangible, so manufacturers can optimize it.
- Opportunities for innovation. As the bedrock for the broader IIoT, digital twins offer opportunities for data-driven innovation. Modeling and simulating through the twin can lead to more sophisticated deployments that are well-orchestrated and measured.
- HUB for expanding IIoT network. As the central repository for connected devices and integrated software, a well-constructed digital twin helps facilitate a broader buildout of the IIoT — one that’s more stable, organized, and integrated.
Not only are digital twins becoming more commonplace in factories, they’re viewed as more essential. As the main framework and foundation for connecting the IIoT to actionable data, digital twins have positioned themselves as the go-to source for insights. When you want to make a change, identify an improvement, or get ahead of a problem, the digital twin is the starting point because it’s where all the data lives, fully contextualized and ready to investigate.