Digital Twin concept has a crucial role at the factory/plant level
Published on : Friday 07-10-2022
Titli Chatterjee, Senior Lead, SME – Smart Manufacturing Practice, ISG Group.
Condition monitoring is commonly understood to apply to rotating machinery. What other assets in the plant can benefit from condition monitoring?
Though the origin of condition monitoring is difficult to identify, it is possibly an advancement to predictive maintenance, which is widely used to ascertain the health of machinery, vehicle parts, equipment and other valuable assets. Additionally, it is also an essential aspect in rotating machines which are very critical to process plants. The ‘machine behaviour’ is often addressed by Condition Monitoring. Being one of the most innovative solutions for anticipating failures in machinery, here are the factors that assist the intervention of condition monitoring (Table1).
What is an estimate of the size of the market? How much of this market is accessible to Indian companies?
The increasing need for monitoring machinery equipment will drive the demand for condition monitoring systems at around 8% CAGR through 2031. Also, with the increasing focus on sustainability by many enterprises across the globe, condition monitoring is being adopted in the mining industry as well as other relevant sectors to help operate their machinery with a higher efficiency and profitability, while reducing the carbon footprint. Simultaneously, the Indian market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 11% during the period 2020-2025 and is projected to reach $193.3 million by 2025. The adoption of technological advancements across varied verticals like installation of sensors for track-and-trace of raw materials, remote monitoring and other commercially viable technical upgrades is boosting the Indian market.
Condition monitoring and prescriptive analytics is a business activity different from legacy sales and services activities. Do you think MSMEs and startups have an inherent advantage in getting market share?
The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) along with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) service providers are shifting their focus to aftermarket services, not only to reduce the downtime but further utilise the influx of data and generate reliable insights to enhance the business process and cost.
At the same time, the MSME sector is undergoing a significant transformation owing to digital initiatives brought about by frontier technologies. One of the most powerful impacts due to the pandemic has been coming out of legacy products and services and adapting to continuous innovation for growth. Start-ups on the other hand, being catalysts for radical innovation, have relevant opportunities in reacting fast and flexibly to industrial challenges through its fast-paced solutions/services. Perhaps, this is an ideal scenario when the small businesses and the start-ups come together in developing cutting-edge solutions pertaining to the condition monitoring market, leveraging the growing industrial activities in the country and the government laws supporting the industrialisation.
Are there real studies done to establish proof of concept using simulation and digital twin techniques? This needs an intensive collaboration between prospective buyers and vendors. Is it happening in India? With what success?
The Digital Twin concept has a crucial role at the factory/plant level, also in shaping the smart manufacturing industry. The emergent technology which has witnessed a surge in recent years mostly focused on predictive analysis for various industries and domains offers the ability to get an in-depth insight on the inner operations of any system. Digital twin research and implementation is vigorously being taken up and has especially become more popular in certain domains like urban spaces and mobility, freight logistics, smart cities, engineering and automotive industry, and manufacturing amongst others. Comprehensive research on the applications has been published in various journals and available in databases based on application industries.
While digital twin technology and simulation both use virtual model-based simulations, they are different in certain aspects, which is due to the lack of simulation capabilities of traditional computer-aided design and engineering (CAD-CAE). The basic differences between digital twin and simulation can be depicted through the pointers (Figure 1).
To sum up, digital twin offers a more versatile and in-depth simulation to that offered by CAD-based simulations – the crucial impact of a digital twin over a more basic CAD-based simulation for monitoring valuable products and assets. A classic example is a demonstration by Boeing who integrated digital twin into design and production enabling assessment on how materials would perform throughout an aircraft’s lifecycle. In addition to various publications and research-based studies conducted in India on DT, the larger enterprises are collaborating with various buyers and cutting-edge start-ups to develop digital twins. One such is TCS who has recently collaborated with non-profit Prayas to develop a digital twin city in Pune to predict the evolution of pandemic. The technology has gained much popularity in India over the past two to three years in spaces such as manufacturing, utilities and oil & gas, and for most companies it is at an R&D or proof-of-concept stage.
Is the appetite for such systems bigger at large plant operators like power plants and refineries?
As mentioned above, frontier technologies or advanced technologies, irrespective of the taxonomy protocols, have gained market traction over the last few years particularly in spaces like utilities, oil & gas. In the next three to five years, the PoC is expected to mature and move towards large-scale adoption based on specific business needs of an organisation. Industries such oil & gas, minerals, power plants, renewables, pharma are specifically focusing on easier optimisation of products and processes by using digital replicas. For instance, an oil refinery cannot afford casualties like unscheduled shutdowns for which the business has to incur huge losses and other associated liabilities.
Can the government play a role in accelerating deployment of such systems? Are there any schemes for promoting better maintenance using data technologies?
The government has been laying out policies and schemes to push for digitisation and smart city projects, due to which it is expected that the Asia Pacific region is likely to capture a considerable share, with China, India and Japan leading the way. Simultaneously, the government can play a pivotal role in uplifting the digital economy, facilitating smoother deployments of such systems by accelerating digital financial inclusion, enabling global opportunities for MSMEs, inspiring and instilling digital trust. However, charting out the essential elements of a digital roadmap remains the priority. Looking at the stakeholder roles in driving this, the MSME sector has been participating in schemes inculcating Zero Defect and Zero Effect practices in manufacturing process, ensuring continuous improvement and supporting Make in India initiative. The government has laid out ‘Credit Linked Capital Subsidy for Technology Upgradation’ (CLCSS). The revised scheme aims at facilitating technology upgradation by providing 15% up front capital subsidy to MSMEs. Another scheme that grabs attention is providing financial assistance for implementation of lean manufacturing techniques, primarily the cost of lean manufacturing consultants (80% by GoI and 20% by beneficiaries).
Does engineering education prepare graduates/post graduates to design, specify, evaluate, and implement such new age solutions?
Although there is a growing demand in emerging technologies as opposed to traditional engineering, the capacity utilisation remains low. Converting current capacity in traditional disciplines to emerging technologies would help evaluate skills for new age solutions. Also, competencies of the faculty need to be developed, focusing on emerging newer technologies. In addition to the engineering education, students should be given more flexibility to use MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) helping in developing an innovation mindset.
Titli Chatterjee is Senior Lead, SME – Smart Manufacturing Practice, ISG (Information Services Group). She is closely working with the industry thought leaders, advisors, consultants and other stakeholders in formulating research practices for smart manufacturing, also focusing on other industry challenges/trends and highlighting how technology can be a game changer at the industrial front.
(The views expressed in interviews are personal, not necessarily of the organisations represented)