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How to Create a Digital Twin Model

How to create a Digital Twin Model: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a digital twin model involves a 3-phase approach: model creation, data input, and data updates. Here’s a guide

The innovative technology of digital twins offers numerous advantages to the AECO industry. In a few years, a company’s success may depend on the proper creation and management of the virtual twin.

We know that digital twins provide work teams with the opportunity to thoroughly understand the project throughout its lifecycle and enable complete maintenance and management. But, how to properly create a virtual twin model?

In this article, you’ll find a comprehensive guide that explains step by step how to do it! You’ll discover that creating a digital twin model can be quite simple; you just need to use digital twin creation software.

Digital twin models in the construction industry, what are they used for?

In the construction industry, a digital twin model represents a detailed and constantly updated virtual replica of a structure or any other asset. This replica serves to:

  • Manage the entire lifecycle of the building or asset;
  • Monitor real-time performance;
  • Collect real-time data;
  • Test a variety of scenarios;
  • Predict potential issues;
  • Identify optimization opportunities.

How to create a digital twin model: 3 simple steps

To create a digital twin, I recommend following these 3 simple steps:

  1. Create a complete 3D model that gathers information from all design fields (architecture, structure, MEP). In this step, it’s essential to utilize the BIM methodology and tools such as laser scanners or drones;
  2. Associate current information with each created object and link them to IoT sensors for real-time data collection. This allows you to enhance project management during the design, execution, and maintenance phases;
  3. Track all collected information, create detailed reports to keep everything under control, and initiate targeted activities and interventions.
Digital Twin of a building: data and information

Digital Twin of a building: data and information

Digital twin model: Best practices in construction

Here are some best practices to follow when creating a digital twin model for a construction project from scratch:

  1. Clearly define the purpose and scope: Before starting, it’s crucial to precisely establish the main objective and specific applications for which the digital twin will be used. Creating a digital twin without a clear understanding of the challenges to be faced can lead to project failure. It’s essential to identify who will be responsible for managing the model, how they will manage it, and what functionalities it should include;
  2. Identify key components: It’s important to determine which information needs to be integrated into the digital twin model;
  3. Capture and customize the built environment virtually: The digital twin must accurately represent the real object being replicated. To achieve this, it’s advisable to use advanced technologies such as photogrammetry, laser scanning, and sensors to create the most realistic model possible;
  4. Share and analyze the model collaboratively: Utilize cloud technology to share all information and updates of the digital twin with the work team. This approach allows for more effective coordination of operational decisions and choices during the project.

Which software is used to create a digital twin?

To create an effective digital twin, it’s essential to employ cutting-edge software that can adapt to your specific needs. These tools should enable you to work directly on the model to streamline construction processes, accelerate project completion times, and minimize resource waste.
For this, I recommend trying highly versatile digital twin software that allows you to:

  • Update virtual models in real-time: Keeping your digital model up-to-date is crucial for efficient management;
  • Share real-time updates with the entire work team through cloud technology: Instant collaboration and shared access to information are critical for project success;
  • Integrate BIM data and information into the digital twin model: Full integration between your digital twin model and BIM data can significantly enhance operational efficiency;
  • Manage IoT ecosystems directly within the digital twin model: Integrating IoT devices allows real-time monitoring and control of assets;
  • Monitor asset performance and plan maintenance: The ability to assess performance and plan preventive maintenance is essential for asset longevity and efficiency.