Embracing Success with Digital Twins in Process Industry
Published on : Saturday 01-07-2023
Discover how digital twins unlock unprecedented insights and opportunities for success.
Wondering how to make the most of real-time data analytics and predictive maintenance to enhance efficiency and improve decision-making in the process industry? If this is indeed how you feel, then this comprehensive article is for you.
In today's rapidly evolving industrial landscape, innovations and advancements in technology are revolutionising various sectors. The Process Industry is one such sector that is making the most of the concept of digital twins. A digital twin refers to digital representations of physical objects, systems, or processes. It has become a potent tool for increasing productivity, streamlining processes, and making data-driven choices by combining data from sensors, IoT devices, and other sources. In the process industry, digital twins offer a myriad of benefits, including improved asset management, optimised production processes, enhanced safety and compliance, and more.
The market size of digital twins globally has seen steady growth across various industries, including the process industry. The MarketsAndMarkets report projects that the size of the worldwide digital twin market will increase from US$ 6.9 billion in 2022 to US$ 73.5 billion in 2027, increasing at a CAGR of 60.6% over the forecast period. The market value of digital twins is expected to garner significant growth in the coming years. And the process industry is playing a vital role in this growth thanks to the adoption of this technology in various sectors of the industry.
Several sectors come under the process industry, such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, power generation, and others. Each sector has its own requirements and applications for digital twins. With digital twins, process industry companies have the opportunity to gain real-time insights, simulate process scenarios, and optimise operations for improved efficiency, minimised downtime, and cost savings.
The value of digital twins in process industry
Digital twins hold significant value in the process industry, encompassing various aspects of operations, maintenance, and decision-making. They offer several benefits to companies operating in this sector. Some of the key values that digital twins add to the process industry are mentioned below.
Improved operational efficiency
In the process industry, a digital twin provides real-time insights into the performance and behavior of assets and processes. It helps in monitoring key parameters, identifying congestions, and optimising operations. Digital twins also improve the overall operational efficiency and productivity of companies operating in this sector.
Enhanced asset performance
By using digital twins, companies in the process industry can monitor and examine the performance of individual assets like turbines, pumps, or reactors. As digital twins combine real-time data and previous patterns, they help businesses identify deviations, optimise asset utilisation, and improve overall performance. This significantly leads to enhanced asset lifespan, less energy consumption, and improved reliability.
Accurate simulation and optimisation
Using digital twins provides a digital environment in order to simulate and optimise processes in the process industry. With a virtual representation of the physical objects and processes, companies can run simulations and perform what-if analyses while optimising process parameters. This will significantly enable them to identify inefficiencies, minimise waste, and enhance and improve overall process performance.
Predictive maintenance and reduced downtime
In the process industry, digital twins enable predictive maintenance strategies for companies. As digital twins help in continuously overseeing asset health and evaluating real-time data, companies can have the opportunity to anticipate equipment failures and timely maintenance actions. This proactive approach of using digital twins mainly helps in reducing unplanned downtime, optimising maintenance schedules, and extending the life of critical assets.
Enhanced safety and risk mitigation
A digital twin can help companies identify potential risks and anomalies that could lead to major accidents. It does so by facilitating real-time monitoring of critical safety parameters in the process industry, enhancing safety, and contributing to risk mitigation.
Optimised resource allocation
Companies operating in the process industry can gain valuable insights for optimising resource allocation using digital twins. They can make informed decisions regarding workforce deployment, inventory management, and energy consumption by examining the data collected from digital twins. This approach helps companies streamline operations, reduce costs, and enhance resource utilisation.
These are certain values or benefits of utilising digital twins in the process industry that help companies with improved operational efficiency, enhanced asset performance, safety, and process optimisation. Apart from this, companies within the process industry can gain a competitive advantage with the help of digital twin technology by achieving sustainable operations.
Challenges in implementing digital twins in process industry
Digital twins are becoming indispensable in the process industry as this technology offers significant benefits. However, there are certain challenges that companies need to encounter when implementing digital twins within the industry. Addressing these challenges successfully requires companies to take a holistic approach involving technological solutions, collaboration between different teams, data governance, investment in robust data infrastructure and talent with domain expertise, and inclusive change management strategies. Some of the common challenges of implementing digital twins in the process industry are:
-Data Integration and Interoperability
-Security and Privacy Concerns
-Scalability and Implementation Complexity
-Skill and Knowledge Gap
-Change Management, and
-Data Availability and Quality.
Companies using digital twins in process industry
As technology develops and the potential for optimisation and improvement becomes more and more clear, adoption of digital twins continues to rise. The development of virtual replicas of actual assets, procedures, and systems has become possible thanks to the widespread adoption of digital twin technology within the industry. Companies from oil and gas, chemicals, power generation, refining, and other industries are just a few of the ones that harness the applications of digital twins. These companies within the process industry embraced digital twins to monitor and improve operations, boost asset performance, increase asset safety, and spur innovation.
Technip FMC is maximising the use of digital twins in the energy sector. The company has teamed up with DNV GL to create the first methodology for evaluating the integrity of digital twin technology in the oil and gas sector. The methodology seeks to level the playing field for the sector's various technical demands for digital twins.
“Digital twin technology results in quicker, better asset design, improved project delivery efficiency, and operation safety and performance during the whole asset life. As more digital twins enter the oil and gas sector, it is key for operators to know that their twin works as planned and that its output is reliable. Our collaboration with DNV GL aims to address this,” said Julie Cranga, Vice President, Subsea Digital, TechnipFMC.
Boeing is one of the companies within the aviation industry that has adopted digital twin manufacturing. By utilising the digital twin asset development model, Boeing has been able to improve the first-time quality of the parts and systems it uses to build commercial and military airplanes by up to 40%.
“The use of the digital twin is changing how Boeing designs its airplanes by providing a virtual replication of physical airplane parts and simulating how they will perform over the lifecycle of the airframe,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
The leading tire manufacturer in the world, Bridgestone, uses a digital twin to predict how various factors, including driving behaviors, will affect its products. This makes it easier for vehicle fleets to choose the best tires for their needs. As a result, the use of digital twins prolongs product life and protects the wheels from damage. Bridgestone's production is accelerated by almost 50% when tests are run in a virtual environment.
“The digital twin is undoubtedly a key enabler for efficiencies across the whole engineering chain,” said Paolo Filetti, Head of Digital Engineering at Bridgestone EMIA.
Major digital twins players in process industry
There are several companies in the global process industry that understand and leverage the power of digital twins. They developed strategies and invested wisely to make the most of this technology. Mentioned below are some major players in the process industry that offer digital twin solutions.
Siemens: Siemens is a leading industrial manufacturing company in Europe. The company offers digital twin solutions for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, energy, and transportation. Siemens Digital Industries Software's area of competence is software for 3D and 2D product lifecycle management. By using the company's digital twin platform, "Xcelerator," businesses can make digital representations of their systems and products to improve performance, minimise costs, and increase efficiency.
AVEVA: The company is a pioneer in the development of industrial software solutions, including digital twin technology. The company’s solutions are applicable to a variety of sectors, including the process industry. AVEVA's digital twin systems provide real-time process monitoring, optimisation, and simulation. Their digital twins give insights into process performance and assist in detecting inefficiencies by combining data from sensors, equipment, and systems. Through its digital twin services, AVEVA places a major emphasis on boosting operation efficiency, minimising downtime, and increasing safety.
Dassault Systemes: With a range of simulation, modeling, and analysis tools, Dassault Systems offers digital twin technology for a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, and aerospace. As the industry unlocks new potential with the rapidly growing metaverse industry, the company focuses on the distinctions between digital twins and virtual twins. Traditional industries like healthcare researchers and people remodeling their homes are among their clients. Dassault Systems offers 3D models that have an impact on everything around you, and it tests and simulates those models to make sure they are perfect.
ABB: ABB offers digital twin solutions for the manufacturing, transportation, and power generation sectors. These solutions can be used to monitor and analyse equipment and processes in real-time. In an effort to promote flexibility, transparency, and real-time collaboration during the testing of virtual robot cell designs, ABB has integrated cloud-enabled functionality into its RobotStudio robot programming and simulation software.
Honeywell: Honeywell is an American publicly traded multinational conglomerate that offers digital twin solutions for the process industry through their Connected Performance Services (CPS) platform. The company’s digital twin solution optimises performance, reduces downtime, and increases safety by fusing real-time data, analytics, and process models. Companies can monitor assets, anticipate failures, and optimise maintenance schedules thanks to its digital twin solutions. Process industries like oil and gas, chemicals, and refining can increase operational effectiveness and produce better results with the help of Honeywell's digital twins.
Upcoming trends in digital twins in the process industry
The tools and applications for digital twins are becoming more capable, effective, and user-friendly as interest in and use of them has increased year over year. Staying updated with the latest trends in digital twins has become indispensable for companies operating in the process industry to make the most of this technology. Here, we have discussed some of the top trends in digital twins within the process industry.
Sustainability and energy efficiency: Digital twins assist businesses in minimising their environmental impact by monitoring and optimising resource use, emissions, and energy use. This pattern fits with the increased attention being paid to sustainability and decarbonisation in various industries.
AI-powered analytics: Digital twins are heavily reliant on artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytics. AI algorithms can process massive amounts of data, spot patterns, and predict outcomes to streamline workflows and spot potential problems. Digital twins with AI-powered analytics enable proactive maintenance, anomaly detection, and process parameter optimisation.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Digital twins are being combined with VR and AR technologies to create immersive experiences. Operators, engineers, and maintenance staff can view and interact with virtual representations of physical assets and processes thanks to this technology. Improved training, simulation, and troubleshooting capabilities can be achieved with the help of these technologies.
Edge computing for real-time processing: Edge computing is becoming more important in applications involving digital twins in real-time processing. Digital twins can analyse and respond to data in real-time, reducing latency and enabling quicker decision-making by processing data closer to the source, at the network's edge. When real-time responses are essential, such as in remote or quick operations, edge computing is especially helpful.
Integration of digital twins: The digital twin solution is transitioning from a standalone model to an integrated system that connects various elements of the process industry. Data from various asset lifecycle phases, such as design, construction, operation, and maintenance, is integrated into this process. Digital twins are increasingly being used in conjunction with cloud computing, IoT, and artificial intelligence.
These digital twin trends within the process industry are a result of both advancements in technology and changing market demands. It is crucial for businesses to keep up with these developments and consider how they can use digital twins to boost efficiency, drive operational excellence, and accomplish their goals.
The power of digital twin technology in the process industry is still largely unknown to businesses and companies around the world. It is no surprise that digital twin technology, which provides a virtual replica of physical assets, systems, and processes, has become a transformative force within the process industry.
Future applications of digital twins in the industry have enormous potential to boost operational effectiveness, improve cost efficiency, enhance safety, and spur innovation. As businesses continue to explore and invest in digital twin technologies, we at Industrial Automation believe significant advancements in these fields in the upcoming years.