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Digital Twins For Industrial Facilities – Fad Or Fab?

Digital models of real-world assets have been in use for more than 20 years for product design and testing. The advent of Industry 4.0 frameworks has catapulted this technology into the limelight for industrial facilities such as offshore oil rigs, container ships, windfarms and factories. The big question plaguing customers is if this technology carries any real value-add or is it just another hyped technology being thrown at the industrial world in the name of digitization?

By creating a digital model of an industrial facility, which replicates the facility’s systems and simulates its performance using real-time and periodic data, digital twins help with dynamic risk assessment. Use of advanced algorithms and complex modelling improve operational decision-making by delivering predictive as well as prescriptive insights. Digital twins offer enhanced value propositions to executives in engineering, maintenance and production functions by performing complex calculations in real-time for asset integrity. This can extend the useful life of assets, prevent asset failures by helping to prioritize maintenance work and increase production throughput.

Given that digital twins for industrial facilities is still an emerging market, it is populated by vendors offering digital twin software at varying levels of sophistication. Akselos, the Switzerland headquartered digital twin software vendor uses the patented Reduced Basis Finite Element Analysis (RB-FEA) to build digital twins of complex assets like offshore wind turbines and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. GE Digital’s Predix IoT platform, on which the digital twin software runs, contains over 500 analytics models. ANSYS Twin Builder comes with application-specific built-in libraries to save time creating asset-based models, while the digital twin software offering from Seebo, with its headquarters in Tel Aviv, uses machine learning to analyse large volumes of production data to predict and prevent production disruptions.

The relative newness of this technology coupled with the complexity involved in modelling and simulating digital twins for industrial facilities means that high-risk industries with critical assets to manage will emerge as the frontrunners in terms of technology adoption as these industries have the most to gain from increased efficiency, safety and productivity.

For more information on digital twins, register for the Verdantix webinar titled ‘The Reality Of Digital Twins For Industrial Facilities’ on July 3rd.

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