With the best planning and intention, it is hard to know what will happen when a new machine or line is integrated into an existing system. Many nights of sleep are lost when downtime is planned for integration of a new machine or line, many more when things don’t go to plan and restarting the line is delayed. With a digital twin, this process can be much easier. Issues can be identified and resolved in the virtual world and the integration process can be practised and streamlined before shut-down. Moreover, operators can be trained to use the new line before it goes live, and with interesting applications of holographic virtual and mixed reality glasses, they could even walk around a digital twin and get familiar with how to operate and maintain it before it is even installed. Reducing risk, operator learning time and line shutdown time when marrying old with new is a fantastic example of the benefits of digital twinning that can be applied to almost any industrial environment.
I believe that just as the time has come when there’s virtually nothing that doesn’t start life as a CAD drawing, there will come a time when the use of digital twin technology applications will be virtually ubiquitous.