Digital twin has attracted much attention with the rise of the fourth industrial revolution. Although some companies have implemented the tech on a small scale, not much has completely leveraged them.
It has to be because of the limited knowledge businesses have about digital twins. Because the benefits the tech brings to the table are many. Following are 15 digital twin use cases that will give you a better understanding of what digital twin can help you with.
1. Improve Product Quality
When we consider the automobile industry, designing a new model is challenging. It's like a complex puzzle where every part should fit perfectly.
Now, a digital twin acts as a virtual sandbox where manufacturers can assemble this puzzle and see how the pieces fit. Manufacturers can make changes quickly if something doesn't align or function properly.
Also, it's far easier and cheaper to fix it in this digital realm than in the physical world. So, the twin helps enhance product quality by spotting potential snags before they cause real trouble.
Learn more about the role of digital twins in the automotive industry.
2. Reduce Manufacturing Costs
Imagine being able to play out the whole manufacturing process on a computer before spending a dime on real-world production. That's exactly what digital twins can help you with.
You could see where you might waste resources, where bottlenecks might occur, or even the unnecessary steps in the process. By identifying these, you can adjust your process to avoid potential issues. Thus digital twins provide a cost-effective trial run for your production line.
Did you know? The lion's share of the global digital twin market is manufacturing.
3. Reduce Unplanned Downtime
Every minute a factory is not operational, money is lost, not to mention the delay in delivery to customers. Furthermore, the equipment doesn't give a heads-up before they break down.
Digital twins can help predict such issues before they happen. They're like a crystal ball that can foresee when a machine might break down, allowing you to fix potential problems before they lead to costly downtime.
Read more about predictive maintenance to get a better understanding of the matter.
4. Increase Throughput
Consider an automobile manufacturer. In a set period, they produce a specific amount of vehicles. But with the increasing demand for their product, they decided to increase production. But their current production rate is not quite up to mark.
Enter Digital Twin.
It can simulate the process to identify the reason for the lower production rate. Furthermore, they can tweak the process, implement new machinery, and more, and find out the best way to speed things up.
5. Ensure Safe Manufacturing
Safety first, right? It is not just because of the legal and financial implications of accidents but also the welfare of the employees. But foreseeing potential hazards isn't always easy.
Digital twins can help here.
You can simulate different scenarios to analyze and address potential safety issues ahead of time. For example, if you are introducing a new machine, you can simulate the digital twin of the new machine alongside others.
You can observe how it interacts and identify any possible safety issues, even before unboxing the real machine. Therefore, digital twins ensure the overall health and well-being of your workforce.
6. Test New Design Ideas
This is something of an important use case of digital twins. Be it construction or the automobile industry, testing new designs before building can be helpful.
Imagine being able to test how your new building design will fare against an earthquake or a storm. Or, in the case of automobiles, test the design to see how efficient they are. A digital twin lets you experiment with different designs without the risk and expense of physical prototyping. It's like your personal testing ground.
See how the crucial role played by digital twins in construction.
7. Develop Product Enhancements
Let's say you have a product out there. It's performing well and loved by the customers. But you saw customer feedback pointing out a missing feature in your product, which your competitor offers.
What's the best way to test whether the feature fits well with your existing product or not?
Answer - Digital Twins.
With a digital twin, you can try out these enhancements in a digital space. You can monitor how it fits within your product and how well it performs. But most importantly, you can understand whether the addition ruptures the performance of your current product.
You can make necessary tweaks and tests until you're ready to release an improved version that you're confident customers will love.
8. Digital Transformation of Enterprises
When we talk about digital transformation here, we are not essentially talking about enterprises having a website or mobile app. Instead, it's about enhancing the ways the enterprise used to work with a new one. A better one!
It's like replacing an old rusty bicycle with a sleek new electric one.
Digital twins blend the physical and digital worlds, optimizing operations and giving powerful insights into business processes. This includes but is not limited to identifying potential bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas that need improvement.
9. Speed New Product Information
A digital twin lets manufacturers quickly share detailed information about new products. This includes how they are made, the materials to use, and how they will function. It's like having a digital handbook that can drastically reduce the time it takes to get a product from concept to customer.
10. Reduce Planned Downtime
We have talked about unplanned downtime, which is when machines break down without warning. And digital twins can help identify when such events would happen in advance to avoid them.
Here, as you can see, the downtime is planned. Meaning you know the machines need a break from the continuous run. So how digital twins can help here by prioritizing and planning this downtime. A little early, you will be wasting time, and a little too late could result in a breakdown.
Digital Twins will let you know the optimal time to conduct the maintenance. As a result, keeping the necessary downtime to a minimum and ensuring the productivity wheel keeps turning.
11. Meet New Regulatory Challenges
Imagine you're operating a pharmaceutical company. You've got a best-selling medication that has been proven effective and safe. Suddenly, a new regulation rolls out that mandates additional testing or changes in the manufacturing process to ensure the medication's purity.
It's a significant change, and you have no idea how it might affect your production process. But with a digital twin of your production process, it's not the same.
With your digital twin, you can simulate the effect of these new regulations on your production line. How will additional testing fit into the process? What changes will need to be made to ensure purity?
You can experiment with different scenarios and find the most efficient, compliant solution without disrupting your real-world operations. Thus it will help you adapt swiftly to changes and stay compliant.
Learn more about the role of digital twins in healthcare.
12. Training for New Manufacturing Process
Training can be costly and risky. Learning new things means there will be mistakes. And mistakes in the real world can be expensive as well as dangerous.
But with a digital twin, employees can learn new processes in a virtual environment before they're used in the real world, making for a smoother, safer learning curve. Manufacturers can use digital twins to enhance worker training to empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge.
13. Design Changes to the Production Line
There are several reasons for the production rate to be low, and one reason is inefficiencies in the workflow. Now, manually it is a gargantuan task to monitor and spot where the issues are. But with a Digital twin of a production process, it is as easy as counting to five.
A digital twin allows you to play around with your production line design. You can see where the problems are and make the necessary tweaks until you find the most efficient setup. In addition, you can understand the impact of the change you make.
The result will be a smoother, more efficient production process that saves you time and money.
14. Provide Services to End-User Customers
Suppose you're a customer service representative, and you get a call from a customer who's having trouble with your product. It might be a complex machinery part, a smart home device, or even a car.
Trying to troubleshoot over the phone, based on verbal descriptions, can be quite challenging, right? Now if you have a virtual replica of the product the customer owns, then it will be a different scenario.
This virtual model lets you recreate the customer's problem in real-time. It's like having the product right there with you, even though it's miles away.
For example, if a customer says their smart fridge is not cooling properly, you can use the digital twin to mimic the fridge's behavior. This lets you identify the problem more accurately than you ever could be based on a verbal description alone.
You can simulate a customer's problem and work out the solution. Or you can offer personalized recommendations based on how they use the product.
15. Updates Product in the Field
Before deploying an update to the real-world product, you can first try it out on your digital twin. You can see how the update behaves in different scenarios, iron out any kinks, and ensure it delivers the intended benefits. It's like a dress rehearsal for your update.
This testing process in a digital environment also helps you anticipate how the update will interact with various aspects of the product and the environment in which it's used. Maybe there's a particular setting or condition where the update doesn't work as well as expected.
You can test different versions of an update and see how small changes might improve performance. Furthermore, you can fine-tune the update until it's just right.