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Digital Twin Engineering: concept overview, types and practical applications.

Digital Twin Engineering: concept overview, types and practical applications.

Digital twin engineering refers to the virtual replication of assets and components. Discover the types of Digital Twins and their advantages.

In recent years, the concept of Digital Twins has increasingly captured the attention of AECO professionals as it has opened new perspectives in optimizing performance and managing the lifecycle of assets.
Numerous fields have benefited from this technology, and engineering is certainly one of them. Through the creation and use of digital twins of real structures and plants, engineering has significantly improved activities such as simulation, analysis, and monitoring of system behavior and performance.

Let’s explore what this technology entails, the different types of digital twins, and, most importantly, how it can support the AECO sector through the use of specific digital twin software.

How Digital Twin is Revolutionizing the Engineering Field

The Digital Twin technology involves the exact digital reproduction of a real physical object or system, including all its components and behaviors. To achieve accurate results that perfectly replicate the existing or future reality, the digital twin utilizes various monitoring, data collection, and analysis tools, such as IoT sensors and other digital solutions that virtually reproduce the real behaviors of our asset.
Today, Digital Twin technology finds significant and fruitful applications in various sectors, including engineering, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, energy, and construction. Whenever one desires to understand and monitor the real behavior of a device, product, or asset, constructing a digital twin becomes a valuable, if not essential, aid.

For example, during the design of a project in the AECO sector, the entire team – structural engineers, MEP engineers, architects, etc. – has certain expectations about the building’s technical and performance details. To verify whether the real behavior aligns with the team’s design, data is collected through sensors and devices, which is then compared with the output of the digital twin to determine if the building is still performing as intended.

This is just one example of the various applications and utilities of the Digital Twin, which can be used for both monitoring and prediction purposes across different sectors.

Digital twin in engineering

How the digital twin revolutionizes the engineering field

What are the different types of Digital Twins?

There are various types of Digital Twins that differ primarily based on their application field and what they aim to replicate. It is not uncommon for different types of digital twins to coexist and collaborate to reproduce the individual behaviors of a product as a whole.
Let’s explore the different types of digital twins and their differences and applications:

  • Digital twin of components or parts: In this case, it involves the basic unit of the Digital Twin, virtually replicating small functional components that form part of a larger and complete product;
  • Digital twin of an asset or product: When two or more components work together, they form what is known as an asset. Digital twins of an asset allow the study of interactions between its components, creating a wealth of performance data that can be processed and transformed;
  • Digital twin of systems or units: The next level of “enlargement” concerns the Digital Twin of a system or unit. In this case, it is possible to see how different assets interact and come together to form a larger functioning system. System twins provide visibility into resource interactions and can suggest performance improvements;
  • Digital twin of the entire process: Process Digital Twins, representing the macro level of enlargement, reveal how systems work together to create an entire production plant. For example, they can help determine whether systems are synchronized to operate at maximum efficiency or if delays in some systems may affect others and, therefore, the overall process and effectiveness.
Types of Digital Twins

Types of Digital Twin

How Does the Digital Twin Support Engineering?

The use of Digital Twin has become widespread in the AECO sector. In the field of construction and engineering, the use of the digital twin offers a range of advantages that are increasingly integrated into project workflows.

Among the uses of the Digital Twin in the engineering sector we find:

  • digital configuration for initial development;
  • introduction to the metaverse;
  • proactive planning of maintenance interventions;
  • simulation of performance and solutions;
  • efficient management of various asset systems.

The implementation of the Digital Twin is also combined with the Internet of Things and BIM to provide greater flexibility and proactivity. This also means extra value in terms of support and maintenance too.
The use of a Digital Twin is beneficial in all phases of the asset lifecycle, from design through to maintenance planning, demolition, and reuse.

Discover the power of this technology in the world of construction and infrastructure using a comprehensive and versatile software for digital twin management.