Why modern manufacturing needs digital twins and the digital thread

March 23, 2021

One of the primary reasons digital twin technology is rapidly being adopted is there are multiple use cases across the industrial enterprise: engineering, manufacturing and operations, and maintenance and service. Digital twins are made possible (and improved) by a multitude of Industry 4.0 technologies – IoT, AR, CAD, PLM, AI, edge computing, to name a few – to create a powerful tool that is driving business value. With high-fidelity twins users can identify the data and insights most appropriate to their specific situation. This not only creates flexibility, but also opens up a variety of use cases and applications.

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Today, staying competitive means progressing with machine learning and analytics, including digital twin technology. Fortunately, the journey to success is well proven, and industrial organizations can follow a blueprint for proceeding to digital transformation maturity. Learn the proven processes and software technologies that make analytics and digital twins do-able for every industrial organization.
Last year, the AMRC published a paper on the digital twin and digital thread – it went a long way to dispel the myths around both subjects. Join Paul Haimes, VP Pre Sales Europe at PTC, as he discusses the content with Dr Rab Scott and Jon Eyre from the AMRC. They will delve into the true definition of both technologies, looking closely at the connected elements within the digital thread that, once combined with the digital twin, enables large operating and revenue streams for manufacturers.
A modern manufacturing plant needs to perform optimally on a number of levels in order to be commercially successful. Big Data coupled with Edge technologies and analytics, including digital twins deployed at the Edge, offers manufacturers a real opportunity to create value in their processes. In particular, they can optimise their plants by improving performance, asset availability and quality.
A fully-connected process chain is key to realising the potential of additive manufacturing (AM). Through digitally connecting equipment, it is possible to create a closed-loop feedback system from inspection back into AM, machining and finishing. In doing so, each process can inform the next, tailoring each part to account for subtle variations in net shape production. The data that is collected can, in turn, be used to develop machine learning algorithms that lay the foundation for a practical Digital Twin. By accurately simulating each step of a component’s manufacture, Digital Twins will be able to virtually recreate the entire process chain. This will allow manufacturers to simulate the complete production of a part, well before is it sent to be printed. Digital Twins will provide engineers with invaluable insight that will allow them to compare the simulated finished part with what is expected and required for its application, thereby granting an opportunity for design and process adjustments before manufacture begins.
Developing and deploying digital twins is a journey. For owners and operators there is no out of the box big bang approach, a more effective and correct approach is to start small, prove big and scale by identifying major business criticalities. The essential starting point on the digital twin journey is start with the end in mind and it can’t be an afterthought. Data is the new oil and has real business value with the ability to transform the operational efficiency and resale value of any asset. Surfaced data builds a true picture an asset unachievable in past and now available today. Why would any owner-operator not take advantage of it? Andy Hamer will deliver a high-level overview with a business case and evolution of digital twins, while also sharing his experiences working with numerous owner-operators in the built and infrastructure sectors over the past 10 years

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