How digital twin is making big advancements in smart manufacturing

  • Posted on April 18, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

With manufacturing becoming increasingly digital over the past decade, multiple technologies have emerged in driving the advancement of smart manufacturing and industrial Internet of Things (IoT). From big data and advanced analytics to cyber-physical systems and next-generation material science, digital solutions are delivering real value.

However, in recent years, one solution has seen an incredible rise in market growth amongst several industries, including manufacturing, and that’s the digital twin.

Digital twin has recently grown exponentially in the manufacturing space. The manufacturing industry alone accounted for a 25% share of the North America digital twin market in 2019. Companies are noticing the value that Digital Twin technology can bring to their manufacturing processes, enabling them to quickly make better predictions and smarter decisions about how they manage their products and systems altogether.

We believe digital twin solutions tackle many problems that manufacturers face. For example, unplanned downtime alone costs $50 billion a year. Manufacturers can reduce downtime with a solution that can flag preventative repairs and maintenance. Issues surrounding product design, quality management, and supply chain management could be minimised through digital prototypes and simulations based on historical data.

What manufacturers can gain with digital twin
First, a digital twin is a virtual representation of an actual, physical asset, continually updated in real time to reflect changes or progression. It not only reflects the asset’s current conditions, it also captures historical data about the asset to help monitor, predict, optimise, and simulate its behaviour.

For more background on why enterprise businesses need digital twin, read Rodrigo’s recent blog post.

From our view, the power of digital twin is how it scales far beyond any singular asset or information set. You can populate them with data from operational systems, sensors, back-office systems and engineering diagrams. With that data, you can model machines, manufacturing lines, an entire factory, a network of factories, or even an entire manufacturing product supply chain. Manufacturers can see a digital footprint of their production process from beginning to end.

By capturing and measuring process data, manufacturers can unlock a vast number of opportunities to improve efficiency, optimise workloads, and reduce costs. Based on Avanade digital twin projects, we’re seeing results such as:

  • Reduce inspection costs between 10 - 20% and improve asset utilisation by 10 - 15% through equipment monitoring alone
  • 10 - 15% increase in production volume
  • 3 - 5% increase in yield and quality improvement
  • Opportunity to measure and reduce material waste and carbon emissions

Bringing the power of digital twin to manufacturers through Avanade and our partners
At Avanade, we have seen first-hand how digital twin can help raise organisations to the next level of their digitisation journey. We have worked side by side with our partners, Accenture and Microsoft, to design, build and implement digital twins in multiple industries. We’re helping manufacturers rethink everything and embrace continual change to transform the entire operating value chain through Digital Twin and our broader Industry X solutions.

Every year, manufacturers lose millions of dollars to “giveaway” – accidentally putting too much product into packaging. For one of our clients, we helped develop a digital factory model to visualise and optimise packaging for one of their product lines – helping them capture $50 million in projected savings across global production lines. For another client, we’ve also designed a simulation of their manufacturing supply chain coupled with digital twin technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to find the best product distribution policy that results in the lowest cost per product. In doing so, we were able to minimise their capital cost by 65%, which led to them saving $20 million.

Unleashing the power of digital twin for simulations to drive business results
Simulation provides a risk-free environment for organizations to safely test and explore “what-if” scenarios. The flexibility of simulations allows anyone to evaluate uncertainty and unpredictability in operation times and outcomes. A simulation model can capture many more details than an analytical model, providing increased accuracy and more precise forecasting. And unlike spreadsheet or solver-based analytics, simulation modelling allows the observation of system behavior over time.

Our new simulation demo highlights the specific use case of using a simulation model to solve real-world problems safely and efficiently. With simulation, a user can experiment on a valid digital representation of their own system. Unlike a physical model, the digital simulation model allows different analytical enhancements, such as use case algorithms and analytical equations, which can be directly applied in real time to the digital simulation.

Watch how digital twin adds intelligence through a simulation model on a real-world process in manufacturing:

We’d love to know how you think digital twins could help create value at your organization. Reach out for a brief no-obligation session with our specialists.

Also, read more about what’s possible with our Digital Twin and IoT solutions.

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