How Digital Twin in Manufacturing Enhances Production Line and Who Should Think of Incorporating it?

With the rise in digital power, several novel technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, or machine learning, are being initiated and the global sector is benefitting a lot from all the disruptive technologies. One such technology that has paved its way in recent times is the "digital twin" - a revolutionary technology that has significantly transformed the manufacturing sector. The digital twinning technology has made it possible for the manufacturing industry to step into Industry 4.0 with its ability to reduce operational costs and increase the lifespan of the products.

What is Digital Twin?

Before diving deep into the concept of digital twins and their impact in the manufacturing sector, it's necessary to understand the underlying term, i.e. digital twin technology. The term "digital twin" is a conceptual term of developing a physical match of any product or operation using data from smart sensors. In simpler terms, it's mapping of physical products with their digital ones, so that they can be used effortlessly on various platforms. It has been observed several times that manufacturers had to struggle a lot whenever there's even the smallest change in their production cycle. That change may be because of evolving technology, or improved customer needs. However, with digital twin technology, that issue can be solved impeccably.

Digital twin lets the manufacturers modernize their operations with the use of smart machines. These smart machines learn during their lifetime and suggest future advancements in product development and other activities. With a digital twin, the faults in your machines and operations can be effortlessly detected, even before they occur. This would help in resolving issues and other important parts from a third party to mend your machines.

Besides, there was no privilege earlier for the designers to test their product completely to detect the faults. But, now with the rise in the use of digital twin technology, the thing has resolved to a much greater extent. The designers had been provided virtual technology to test the products to their fullest to detect all the issues and test their efficiencies. This had ultimately made the final development much effective, quicker, and more useful for the customers. It had also reduced the overall cost of the product.

How Digital Twin in Manufacturing Enhances Production Line?

We all might be aware that Industry 4.0 model relies much on compelling data and automation techniques. A perfect environment is created by the digital twin technology for you to collect data from each touchpoint and gather them for analytics and recreation. Once the data gets analyzed and several tests are run on it, you can use it to frame future strategies and make informed decisions. A few benefits of the digital twin in enhancing the manufacturing industry are -

  • Enhanced Plant Performance

The main benefit of the digital twin has improved plant performance. The implementation of digital twin technology allows the manufacturers to gather data from shop floors, which is the key to automation. The embedded machines and smart sensors incorporated into the shop floors give a range of important data to the manufacturer. Once all the data from manufacturing processes, systems, and equipment is combined with a centralized location, the tests can be run to determine your efficiency. Digital twin allows you to create a virtual set of your shop floor to evaluate the impact of your policies and change in operations. You can know how your services could be improved and how few things can be achieved efficiently and rapidly using a digital twin.

  • Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance entails servicing the faulty components at the exact time. The digital twin technology, along with machine learning and AI gives complete information over any element like to reduce the downtime,  to alleviate system failure, and eliminate resource wastage during the maintenance process.

  • Simplification of Complex Processes

Simplifying the complex manufacturing operations is another critical area where digital twins have proved an excellent option for the manufacturers. Digital twin along with AI can virtually create the working environment and detect all the challenges and issues that might come in the future. This would allow the manufacturers to take action well in advance, mitigating the losses and controlling the operations. With digital twin technology, you can even get the right map of your business operations. You can match the effectiveness of your operations with the set standards and understand deviations and the list of preventive measures that you can take to improve those errors.

Also Read: Digital Twins: A Game-Changer for Plant Design and Maintenance

  • Cost and Resource Optimization

The use of digital twins helps you in optimizing the resources of your manufacturing operations. The digital twin technology, along with IoT can test the real-time changes in the object directly on a virtual prototype. This would facilitate automated manufacturing in the global sector. The use of digital twins has made it effortlessly for the industries to develop an error-free and completely customized product without much difficulty. A holistic approach can be obtained for their asset management. Besides, they can even plan to extend novel and different products quickly to satisfy the ever-rising customer needs.

  • Easy Training and Onboarding

The last but not the least benefit of digital twin technology is the easy onboarding and training process. We all know that Industry 4.0 is reliant on the usage of automated technologies like AI, automated vehicles, IoT, Industrial IoT. Now, to make use of such techniques, your staff should be well-trained and versed in such things. The problem is solved once again by digital twin. Digital twinning technology provides a virtual environment for your staff to learn different things without affecting the actual operation and product cycle. This will not only result in cheap training but also help them control and analyze the process more rapidly and efficiently.

They'll get an idea of optimizing the resources as per the need and how to make the processes more dependable.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Twins?

Digital Twin is poised to transform the present face of the manufacturing sector. A significant impact is created by the digital twins on the way products are designed, maintained, and manufactured. It makes manufacturing more capable and optimized while reducing throughput times.

Moving forward, digital twins will come forward as one of the primary IT tools in several industries, mainly in manufacturing but will also revolutionize product testing and development in a wide variety of areas. Hence, in the future, almost every manufactured product could have its digital twin as long as it's somehow generating data that can be analyzed and captured. This concept is known as the "digital triplet" and will characterize the next stage of evolution of the digital twin.