At the frontier where the physical world meets the virtual sits digital twin technology. But what is it and why does it matter? Let’s find out more.
Digital technology has advanced so much that it is now taking over the physical world. The products, services and spaces we are used to are now impacted by digital technology that it’s increasingly challenging to find out where one ends and the other begins. In the manufacturing industry, companies are attempting to use this convergence to gain an edge in the market, including utilising 3D printing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), augmented reality and Industry 4.0 techniques.
Digital twin technology sits at this frontier of innovation, giving companies a digital window into the physical world. But what is it and how can you use it to gain an edge over your manufacturing competitors? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know. Let’s get started.
What is digital twin technology?
A digital twin is an exact copy of a product that lives in the cloud. But it’s also much more than that.
Firstly, each individual instance of your product can have a digital twin. Secondly, it’s a living copy, so the digital twin updates in real-time as the product gets used. Think of it as a way to monitor every single product you create after it has left your factory.
We know what a digital twin is. But why does it matter? Why is digital twin technology such a potential boost for manufacturing companies?
With digital twin technology, you get unique insight into how your customers use your products. You can use this information to discover what features your customers love and which ones lay untouched. This data can inform future iterations, so the next version you create is as good as it can possibly be.
Digital twin technology also shows you how your product changes with use, such as wear and tear. You can also monitor individual products for faults, which can help you anticipate problems and solve them before they happen.
Finally, you can integrate the real-time data from your digital twin technology with other data in your manufacturing process to improve every aspect of product design. For example, you can utilise:
- ThingWorx - to collect and visualise real world data
- Windchill - to connect real world data with product data in a PLM setting
- Creo - to allow product engineers to make use of the data
- ThingWorx Studio - to employ augmented reality to bring the data to life
Are you ready?
With digital twin technology, the possibilities are endless. It’s no surprise there is now a digital transformation arms race in the manufacturing industry to be among the first to reap the rewards.
One thing is clear, however. The physical and digital worlds are becoming the same thing, which presents opportunities and challenges.