Operational Digital Twins: Why Your Manufacturing Business Needs It and How to Get One

Prescient
4 min readSep 21, 2023
Operational Digital Twins for Manufacturing

In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, staying ahead of the curve is no small feat. You’ve got machinery to maintain, quality to control, and, let’s not forget, a bottom line to look after. That’s where Operational Digital Twins come into play.

Imagine having a virtual clone of your entire manufacturing setup, right down to each bolt and conveyor belt, all accessible from your computer or even your smartphone. This method is changing how manufacturers operate, make decisions, and boost profit margins.

They’re not just static 3D models of your assets; they’re dynamic, real-time reflections of your entire operation. Picture this: a digital mirror that not only shows what’s happening now but also predicts what could happen in the future. Intrigued? You should be. Let’s dive in and explore how this game-changing tech can redefine the way you do business.

Operational Digital Twins

Operational Digital Twins, at their core, are digital replicas of physical assets and processes. They serve as a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, allowing businesses to monitor, analyze, and optimize their operations in real time.

By providing a comprehensive digital representation of physical assets, these twins enable businesses to gain insights, make informed decisions, and drive performance improvements.

Understanding Operational Digital Twins

  • Definition and Significance: An Operational Digital Twin is a digital representation of your physical assets or processes. It’s not just a static model; it’s dynamic, constantly updating in real-time, reflecting the current state of the asset it represents.
  • Real-time Digital Representation and Data Analysis: These twins not only provide a real-time snapshot of assets but also analyze data over time, helping businesses understand trends, predict future scenarios, and make proactive decisions.
  • Optimization of Operational and Business Performance: By leveraging the insights gained from these digital twins, businesses can optimize their operations, reduce inefficiencies, and enhance overall performance.

Key Business Benefits of Operational Digital Twins

Increased Revenue

  • Preventing In-plant Downtime: Through predictive maintenance, businesses can foresee potential equipment failures and take preventive measures, ensuring continuous operations and avoiding costly downtimes.
  • Enhancing Operational Efficiency: With real-time insights, operations teams can work more efficiently, maximizing output with the same resources.
  • Offering Digital Twin Solutions to Customers: By offering these solutions to customers, businesses can generate a new stream of recurring revenue.
  • Directing Customers to the Business: A well-implemented digital twin solution can also serve as a platform to engage and direct customers, opening up additional revenue opportunities.

Cost Reduction

  • Grouping Maintenance Tasks: By predicting maintenance needs, tasks can be grouped, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Optimizing the Replacement of Consumables: With accurate data on asset usage, businesses can optimize the replacement cycles of consumables, further reducing costs.

Secured Business

  • Guiding Employees: Digital twins can provide guidance, helping employees tackle complex challenges and improve problem-solving capabilities.
  • Reducing Onboarding Time: With a clear digital representation, new employees can quickly understand and adapt to the operational landscape.
  • Predicting Supply Chain Needs: By anticipating future requirements, businesses can optimize their supply chain, ensuring the timely availability of essential resources.

A Real-world Example: Real-time Asset Monitoring for Mud Pumps

Mud pumps, critical equipment in the oil and gas industry, are perfect candidates for digital twins. These multi-million-dollar machines play a pivotal role in extracting resources from beneath the earth. By integrating various data sources, such as vibration sensors and internal machine sensors, a comprehensive digital twin of a mud pump can be created.

The benefits are manifold:

  • Real-time Monitoring: Businesses can get a real-time view of the pump’s operations, ensuring everything runs smoothly.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Potential issues can be identified and rectified before they escalate, saving both time and money.
  • Efficient Component Replacement: With accurate data on component wear and tear, replacements can be planned efficiently.
  • Planning for Supply Chain Needs: By understanding the operational trends, businesses can predict future requirements, ensuring a smooth supply chain.

Choosing the Right Operational Digital Twin Solution

Selecting the right solution is crucial. Businesses should look for: Flexibility and Quick Demonstrable Benefits, the solution should be adaptable and show quick results. Things to look for:

  • Low-code Technology: A platform that allows for rapid development and deployment can be a game-changer.
  • Scalability and Complex Data Handling: As businesses grow, the solution should scale seamlessly, handling vast amounts of complex data.
  • Openness: Avoid solutions that lock you in. Opt for platforms that use popular, open tools, ensuring longevity and adaptability.

Conclusion:

Operational Digital Twins are not just a technological fad; they are a strategic tool that can significantly boost a business’s performance. By increasing revenue, reducing costs, and de-risking operations, they offer a competitive edge in today’s digital age.

If you’re keen to delve deeper and witness these benefits firsthand, watch this video to gain a comprehensive understanding.

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Prescient

Prescient Edge specializes in fusing massive, diverse data streams from physical assets, control software, work logs & other sources to extract new insights.