Digital Twin is applied in various sectors, generating significant advantages. Discover the main fields of application and their respective use cases
Digital Twin technology is becoming increasingly widespread, finding applications in various fields. We know that a digital twin is a digital replica of physical entities such as buildings, devices, assets, processes, or systems that assists in the model-based decision-making. Digital twins are changing the way we work in various industries, where they find different use cases. Understanding these applications can help implement digital twins in different processes. Let’s explore the key application areas and use cases of Digital Twins.
Which are some key Use Cases of Digital Twins?
In some previous articles, we’ve examined the meaning of a Digital Twin and how its potential can take on more specific meanings based on the technologies implemented, moving beyond just the digital twin to concepts like IoT Digital Twin or AI Digital Twin.
The capabilities and distinction of this powerful tool finds application in various sectors. To give an overview and group the most typical use cases of Digital Twin, we can mention:
- Aerospace Industry: In this field, digital twins play a fundamental role in decision-making and technology throughout the project’s lifecycle, from design to project monitoring.
- Automotive Sector: Digital Twins are used to simulate design hypotheses, identify potential issues and malfunctions before they occur, or simulate autonomous driving scenarios.
- Energy Sector: Digital Twins are integrated with IoT technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and real-time 3D modeling to manage energy performance remotely and in real-time.
- Military/Defense Sector: In this field, digital twins enhance the safety and effectiveness of operations through real-time shared visualization, modeling and simulation of weapons and vehicles, training, and forensic environmental control.
- Mining Industry: Digital Twins significantly contribute to the efficiency and safety of mining operations. They are used for predictive maintenance, underground safety monitoring, and immersive augmented reality safety training.
- Oil and Gas Industry: The oil and gas industry has long implemented the use of cloud and collaborative platforms, advanced simulation, virtual reality, and virtual system testing. All of these technologies complement the use of digital twins.
- Manufacturing Industry: Within this sector, there is a growing belief that the use of the Digital Twin and associated technologies can herald a new industrial revolution, incorporating revolutionary product design and immersive planning simulations.
- Distribution Chain: In this sector, the use of real-time data in Digital Twins has proven to be a cornerstone that determines the success of a business. Enhancing aspects such as real-time warehouse operation safety monitoring, real-time visualization of the logistics network, and warehouse design.
Which are some key Use Cases of Digital Twins in Construction?
A special mention goes to the use of the Digital Twin in the AECO sector (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation). In this industry, Digital Twins find extensive application and usage in all stages of asset lifecycle from planning to maintenance.
Specifically, in the construction sector, the digital twin plays a crucial role and offers powerful use in:
- Infrastructure projects;
- Architectural design;
- Real-Time simulations;
- Predictive maintenance.
Using Digital Twins for infrastructure projects
The use of the digital twin in infrastructure projects allows us to replicate the behavior and characteristics of infrastructure, dynamically integrating it into its environmental context.
The Digital Twin applied to infrastructure contributes to making them smarter and more sustainable. Urban planners can use interactive models integrated with innovative technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), GIS (Geographic Information System), and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to simulate mobility, traffic flows, and the environmental impact of cities. The use cases for the digital twin in this sector are numerous, with the primary ones being:
- Real-time traffic monitoring;
- 3D simulation of urban planning;
- Real-time safety monitoring;
- Carbon footprint management of buildings.
Using Digital Twins in Architectural Design
The field of architecture is perhaps the most intuitive application of the digital twin. In this field, the Digital Twin is used for the digital reproduction of architectural projects, particularly to:
- Simulate various design hypotheses;
- Identify problems and malfunctions early;
- Design smart buildings;
- Implement augmented reality;
- Coordinate models and perform hard clash and soft clash analyses;
- Enhance construction site safety;
- Analyze and accurately predict project times and costs.
Using Digital Twins for Real-Time Simulations
Combining the power of the digital twin, with modern real-time monitoring and dynamic communication technologies between the physical and digital model, we can achieve real-time simulations and monitoring of physical objects. This allows detailed control of the construction process and analysis of timing and criticalities, for instance.
Using Digital Twins for Predictive Maintenance
Particular attention should be given to the benefits of using the digital twin in maintenance. Thanks to the faithful digital representation of our asset, it’s possible to implement predictive maintenance (PdM), or internationally known as Predictive Maintenance.
Imagine having the digital twin of your asset, with rapid access to all its components’ information, even remotely and in real-time. Monitoring equipment performance and conditions is much easier, even from mobile devices and using dedicated digital twin software, and predicting failures before they occur becomes feasible thanks to IoT sensors.
In other words, Digital Twins allow real-time monitoring of its physical counterpart using IoT sensors, recording accurate data, and implementing them in specific facility management software to anticipate failures and implement the right maintenance strategies.
How to implement Digital Twin Technology in construction projects?
Digital Twin technology can be implemented in construction projects from the early stages of the process, even before the construction site works have started. It can be updated and utilized throughout the subsequent stages of the asset’s lifecycle.
Focusing on the construction aspects, the digital twin can assist in the decision-making process for various distribution and technical hypotheses during the initial planning phase. This support continues even after the construction site works have started. Often, changes need to be made during ongoing operations. To make the right choice and understand the potential impacts of a specific change on the overall project, evaluate the modification and its effects on the digital twin before applying it to the physical counterpart.
The use of the Digital Twin in proactive clash detection is also invaluable. Thanks to BIM and the digital twin, it’s possible to identify potential interferences between architectural, structural, and MEP models even before construction begins, saving time and money that would otherwise be required to address interferences during the construction phase.
Once construction has started, with the digital twin, construction companies can monitor construction in real-time to ensure it stays on schedule, within budget, and according to the planned methods. The data collected from the Digital Twin can be used for future building planning, making them more efficient and sustainable.
In conclusion, the Digital Twin is a powerful tool with numerous benefits in many AECO sector domains. I recommend you trying a digital twin software to experience the incredible positive outcomes of this technology firsthand.