Digital Twin Simulations Will Enhance Operational Risk Management For Industrial Assets
Digital twins are a hot topic. Building on prior simulation technologies and 3D design software from vendors like Dassault Systèmes and PTC, they leverage IoT data to create virtual models of assets. This provides operations managers with the ability to simulate the actual performance of an asset such as an offshore oil rig or container ship. In doing so, digital twins provide operations managers with the opportunity to enhance every aspect of the plant’s performance regarding productivity, efficiency and safety. This enhances asset reliability and operational excellence. Tech suppliers offering digital twin solutions range from new entrants such as Akselos, to oil and gas specialist DNV GL and industrial giants like Siemens.
Digital twin simulators are set to collide with the existing world of operational risk software. This includes Asset Performance Management (APM) software which focuses on risks to production and safety posed by equipment failures and Operational Risk Management (ORM) software which applies a process-centric risk framework. The deployment of IoT technologies such as cheap sensors, mobile apps and industrial wearables provides large volumes of real-time data that are needed to generate a meaningful digital twin of an industrial asset for risk management purposes.
Digital twins of assets formed using IoT data provide managers with information on equipment health, planned maintenance work and isolations in place in combination with information streams such as humidity, temperature and wind speed. By combining disparate real-time data in a single model, operations managers can better assess interdependencies and apply stronger risk controls without negatively impacting production. The barrier management models from ORM vendors like eVision and Petrotechnics are a step towards digital twins.
Software vendors in the APM market have begun to leverage the power behind digital twin models to improve plant performance and risk management. GE Digital through their Predix APM software platform offer customers the opportunity to simulate asset performance under a range of usage scenarios, based on known risk and usage information, to identify which operational techniques feed best into the firm’s overall strategy. Similarly, Bentley Systems recently announced a strategic partnership with Atos to create digital twins for industrial and infrastructure assets. This new offering provides operational managers with 3D models of their assets and real-time monitoring of asset performance to predict and avoid failures, resulting in improved performance and productivity.