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Digital Twin Development Benefits and Costs - Visartech Blog

Digital Twins: Benefits, Solutions & Development Costs

12 min read

Slava Podmurnyi

CEO. 12 years of experience in IT. Wide expertise in management, business development, and software development. My dream is to make the world a better place with art and technologies.

Slava Podmurnyi

CEO. 12 years of experience in IT. Wide expertise in management, business development, and software development. My dream is to make the world a better place with art and technologies.

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Businesses are undergoing a major tech-driven change because of the fourth industrial revolution. This phenomenon is also known as Industry 4.0. From corporate giants to average companies, smart technologies are massively integrated into business workflows. This covers manufacturing and distribution.

Industry 4.0 has spawned a host of new data-driven business solutions (metaverse, digital twin, 3D web graphics). They are now leading the digital makeover of the global industry. By digital makeover, we mean robust computation abilities, increased automation, productivity boost, and an AI-oriented future.

The Key Technologies Powering Industry 4.0

Modern businesses keep abreast of innovative trends, which cover the following technologies.

Industry 4.0 Key Technologies - Visartech Blog

  • Augmented Reality (AR)

AR presents pertinent digital information in the real-world context, strengthening employee engagement and delivering outstanding business results.

  • Big Data Analytics

The application of cutting-edge analytical methods to mass data volumes for identifying trends, patterns, and correlations significantly supports data-driven decisions.

  • IoT (the Internet of Things)

The concept of a network of interconnected devices (i.e., sensors) and the technology that joins gadgets and the cloud. This allows manufacturing machines to communicate with additional web-capable equipment.

  • Cybersecurity

New access points for malware and malicious assaults exist right now. Therefore, manufacturing enterprises should reconsider their cybersecurity strategy. It’s best to choose one that includes both IT and OT equipment.

  • AI & Machine Learning

Industrial units are now able to enhance their productivity by processing large volumes of data gathered across all business divisions by ML models. They also streamline, forecast, and automate business operations.

  • Digital twins

Virtual copies of processes, production lines, plants, and supply networks. They are generated with the help of data gathered from IoT devices.

Modern digital solutions enable automation, process optimization, predictive maintenance, and customer response that were previously unattainable. A digital twin often referred to as a virtual twin, is considered the most recent concept among such tech-driven innovations. Although it was first used about two decades ago, it has only lately gained popular acceptance as digital infrastructure becomes increasingly integrated into our lives.

A digital twin solution helps manufacturers create new products, optimize processes, and boost production. Moreover, digital twins allow them to better understand the products, including their current and future market performance.

Digital Twins Features - Visartech Blog

Companies may also eliminate existing barriers associated with innovations, complicated life cycles, and value generation due to the following features of digital twins:

  • Digital model;
  • 3D representation;
  • Digital twin simulation;
  • Document management system;
  • Visualization;
  • Model synchronization;
  • Connected analytics.

Let’s learn more about the idea and processes behind a digital twin solution, a whole new perspective on the industry, and intelligence in today’s data-dependent environment!

What Is a Digital Twin?

According to 87% of CEOs, digital twins are increasingly crucial to their company’s capacity to cooperate in strategic ecosystem alliances. What’s more, 65% of these same executives anticipate seeing their company boost its investment in digital twin solutions over the next three years.

In the modern context, industry-changing digital twins are exact copies of systems or machinery, only virtual. These are cutting-edge 3D software models, which mimic nearly every aspect of a physical twin. It can be a product, a process, or a service. To comprehend its condition, respond to changes, enhance operations, and provide value, digital twins rely on sensor data collected in real time. Such data includes analytics, event data, condition or status, and metadata.

Innovate Customer Experience - Visartech Blog

To maximize the commercial prospects that these companies pursue, a virtual twin technology incorporates all data, models, and other information about a physical asset. So, the main idea behind this concept is predicting and fine-tuning performance using simulation- or data-based methods.

The digital twin solution is a virtual space, wherein you can test your ideas. However, a 3D digital twin can only be a major asset if it can make precise predictions. This means that a virtual twin is necessary for:

  • Understanding and modeling the performance of an asset;
  • Forecasting its behavior;
  • Optimizing its use and maintenance practices.

Therefore, this smart business solution serves as a link between the real and virtual worlds. That’s why it’s worth creating a digital twin.

Digital Twin Components - Visartech Blog

But first, let’s look at the digital twin components to understand how it functions:

  • AI

To act quickly and efficiently on behalf of their real twin, digital twins should be provided with a controller, which is integrated with ontologies, machine learning, and deep learning methods.

  • Unique identifiers

To connect with their physical twin, digital twins would need to have individual identifiers.

  • Sensors & actuators

Real twins might be fitted with sensors, allowing digital twins to mimic their senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. They employ actuators to accomplish this, depending on the demands of the application.

  • Communication

Digital twins should be able to communicate with their surroundings. The Tactile Internet and 5G standards must be followed for communication to occur, including the tactile sense.

  • Digital platform

The integrated service platform combines information about the system, software tools, and models into unified services for the physical and virtual shop floor.

  • Representation

Based on various digital twin applications, they can be software components without a physical representation, or they could have a virtual representation as a 3D avatar, hologram, or even a humanoid social robot.

Read more: What Is Metaverse and How Businesses Can Benefit From It

Find out metaverse capacities and embrace virtual world solutions

  • Privacy & security

Utilizing cutting-edge biometrics and encryption methods, as well as resolving legal and political difficulties, would be necessary to protect the identity and privacy of the physical twins.

How Do Businesses Use Digital Twin Solutions?

More than two-thirds of firms that have implemented IoT are anticipated to have at least one digital twin deployed in production by 2022, according to Gartner. Experts also predict that the market for using a digital twin for manufacturing would reach over $6 billion by 2025.

Despite the many types of digital twins that we’ll cover later, they are most valuable when used as digital twins of an organization. It’s a complex digital twin model of any company that combines operational and contextual data. They need this to comprehend how an organization leverages its business model, adapts to changes, deploys resources, and provides value to customers.

A true enterprise-grade digital twin solution, for example, simulates the dynamic operation of a company’s whole operational system. Digital twins have so emerged as the go-to tool for businesses.

Real Cases of Digital Twin Technology Implementation - Visartech Blog

A great number of large companies already benefit from many uses of digital twins for timely issue detection and productivity growth:

Siemens

A tech giant, Siemens, deployed the digital twin for the first time in Industry 4.0 in 2016. Siemens has integrated a 3D digital twin solution into its three main product lifecycle phases: manufacturing, performance, and product. These simulation solutions in the manufacturing process helped optimize production since they enable the identification and prevention of any potential mistakes or failures before real production begins.

Interestingly, Siemens teamed up with vaccine producers to quickly scale up vaccine manufacturing using digital twin technologies, doing away with years of non-simulated testing and research.

Tesla

Every self-driving vehicle constructed by Tesla is expected to have a digital twin, allowing synchronized data transfer between the factory and the vehicle. To make simultaneous data sharing between the car and the plant possible, Tesla tried to create a digital twin solution for every electric vehicle. Moreover, by choosing digital twins, Tesla concentrated on enhancing manufacturing services, prognostics, and health management in real-time.

General Electric

Other companies, like General Electric (GE), use the knowledge of the digital twin to generate predictions of the health and performance of their products. Remarkably, GE created the digital twin of a wind farm to improve maintenance and operation processes. This digital business solution also helped the company boost energy production.

Besides, GE used digital twins to track the lifetime of locomotives, for hospital bed planning and developed another industrial digital twin for job allocation optimization. The PREDIX5 general-purpose Digital Twin platform was also released by GE to anticipate the performance of industrial assets.

Airbus

In the aviation sector, Airbus used digital twins to simulate real-world circumstances, discover flaws, and foresee and address probable issues of aircraft maintenance. The Iron Bird is a giant ground-based test rig created by Airbus Industries in 2015. The goal was to integrate, optimize, and validate critical aircraft systems. Even when certain physical components are not yet available and before the aircraft’s actual maiden flight, digital twin enables testing of parts and components throughout earlier development cycles.

Wondering how much it would cost to develop a digital twin solution to take the market-leading position - Visartech Blog

4 Most Incredible Advantages Coming From Digital Twins

Can you even imagine the idea of a single digital twin that can smoothly work across domain and system boundaries?

The Digital Twins Benefits - Visartech Blog

The benefits of digital twins, such an all-encompassing solution, are indisputable:

#1. Improved R&D

Digital twins produce a wealth of data regarding expected performance results. This facilitates more efficient product research and development. Thus, before production, businesses may use this data to get insights that will help them make necessary product improvements.

Also, digital twins are employed in product development to help developers foresee how a development cycle will turn out. They are also useful for monitoring production systems after a product has entered production. Digital twins can even help decide what to do next when a product is nearing the end of its existence and needs to undergo final processing.

Software product for internal use orange banner - Visartech Blog

#2. Accurate Insights

The creation of a digital twin system offers more thorough support for decision-making. This comes in handy for different activities through the assessment of current conditions, the diagnosis of past issues, and the forecast of future trends.

Situational awareness and real-time insights are provided by digital twins that are synced with physical entities and tailored to the particular issues to be solved. These insights are often more credible than traditional methods of searching for data across multiple corporate platforms. They raise the caliber of decisions based on that data. In addition to decision support, a digital twin’s structured information approach enables decision automation.

#3. Planned Maintenance

A virtual twin solution helps increase business productivity and efficiency, all while cutting costs and time. Despite having a strong desire to integrate digital twins into their everyday operations, a large part of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) have no clue about the primary technologies and tools of this concept. Furthermore, because digital twins represent such a complicated system, they must be oriented, run, as well as optimized over an extended period.

#4. Optimized Workflows

Digital twins can efficiently monitor, detect, predict, and optimize a physical asset along with collecting sensory data, AI, and big data analytics. By introducing new business strategies or enhancing efficiency through digitization, virtual twins can impact digital transformation for companies.

Alternatively, digital twins can monetize and apply real-time information to alter the business model of an organization. This is why companies start exploring methods to commercialize and optimize these new digital assets as they become more experienced with exploiting digital twins.

Which Type of Digital Twin Solutions Will Work for Your Business Best?

Digital twin products can be of different types, which directly depend on the product itself. They mostly diverge in the field of application. Additionally, it’s common for different kinds of virtual twins to coexist in a single system, or even a process.

Digital Twin Types - Visartech Blog

In this section, we’ll discuss the most typical ​​examples of digital twins, so you can have a better idea of their distinctions and industry applications. This way, you’ll know how to make a digital twin, which satisfies your business needs best.

Component Twin & Part Twin

A single system component can be virtually represented by component twins. This directly affects the functionality and performance of the system. Although they refer to less important parts of a system or product, part twins follow the same principle. For example, these types are popular among component manufacturers. They facilitate engineers’ understanding of the product’s main features.

Asset Twin

Also known as product twins, asset twins demonstrate how some product components interact. They produce a plethora of performance data. It can be analyzed to provide insightful knowledge. Digital twinning of certain parts of the system enables its optimization. Case in point, an asset twin can be developed for a wind turbine to monitor how it performs and spot potential component breakdown.

Process Twin

The term “process twin” stands for a digital representation of networked systems. This particular type of virtual twin tells if all these systems are synced to function as effectively as possible. It can also indicate if the system is delayed and how it may impact others. For instance, a process twin may simulate the complete factory down to the workers working the machinery on the factory floor. A system twin, on the other hand, would simulate only a production line.

System Twin

These twins examine the correlation between several assets that create a complete, functional system. They explain how assets interact and may offer performance improvements. Consider auto manufacturing as an illustration. Here, a system twin combines all the units required for producing a certain final automotive component.

Visartech has a knack for developing system twins. One such digital twin business case is the simulation platform, a unified ecosystem for true golf lovers based on several software solutions. We helped our client turn golf simulation software into a single sports simulation platform by developing a virtual twin of the golf game. As a result, this app garners recognition every year, which leads to a considerably expanded user base.

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Digital Twin Solution?

The concept of the digital twin stimulated the development of many digital transformation solutions that underpin most business models and the growth of modern industries. Now, the question is how to create a digital twin model, and what is the cost of this process?

In essence, the infrastructure of the digital twin’s capabilities and the volume of data it must handle define the main costs of the digital twin creation. But we’ll dive a little deeper and discuss the key features of manufacturing a virtual solution to get a full picture of the financial matter.

The Main Aspects to Consider When Creating a Digital Twin - Visartech Blog

Here are the main aspects to consider if you want to create a digital twin.

Digital Model

One of the core features of digital twin engineering is the ability to produce a virtual model of shop-floor resources. That is a virtual representation of the real environment. Depending on the requirements of each application and the sort of service to be provided, there are multiple types of virtual models. They include geometric models, physical models, and system behavior, models. Digital models can be supported concurrently by a single digital twin system.

Analytics Support

Several digital twin architectures apply data analytics techniques using data acquired from physical systems and virtual data offered by the twin model. On their service layer, these designs require thorough analytics support. This feature covers several analytic techniques, such as prescriptive analytics, optimization analytics, and predictive analytics.

The value of robust analytics support stems from making it possible for businesses to adapt to change faster. It is essential for gaining a competitive edge.

Read more: Business App Development Cost in 2022

Check out the comprehensive guide on app development cost

Timely Updates

Timeliness update is the capacity of updating digital models and data storage. There are two approaches to this. In its simplest version, the shop floor’s actual circumstances are continually reflected in the status of the modeled pieces. Alternatively, the digital twin’s data storage layer receives frequent data transfers from sensors that enable near-real-time updates.

Even though not all architectures support this feature, the physical system and the digital model must be connected. Near-real-time updates are the most straightforward approach to guarantee this connectivity.

Data Management

A digital twin is powered by data to recognize, react to, and adapt to the surroundings and operating circumstances. Tools for managing this data may be divided into five categories: data collecting, data transmission, data storage, data processing, data fusion, and data visualization. Yet, the data volumes keep increasing, and the main task is to create a centralized repository to accumulate data from different sources, from digital and physical objects.

Final Thoughts on Digital Twins in Industry 4.0

The rise of technology trends and predictive analytics has laid the groundwork for the rapid development of a digital twin solution. Because digital twins are causing a sea change in how businesses function, interact, and innovate, leaders from all sectors are currently reevaluating their marketing strategies. Companies that fall behind will find it difficult to compete in the marketplaces of the future.

In this article, we’ve introduced you to the concept of the digital twin and the essential features that can help you better understand how to create a digital twin and why your business might need one. Because the demand for digital twins grows, more companies start exploring ways to streamline operations, make decisions based on data, and produce fresh-new products or services by using digital twins.

Companies that begin creating digital twins today will be the ones to drive industries toward a more agile and intelligent future.

Wanna advance your company’s processes by using digital twins? Connect with our experts to discuss the details!

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