Digital Twins: Definition & Future Scope of This Technology
Digital twins have been around for years. But recently, industries have started to leverage it as a cost-effective method for creating prototypes to test, analyze, and study real-world simulations. This means teams need to learn new digital twins software to get ahead.
Learn more about digital twins and get digital twin examples to learn how they could help you build bigger and better products.
What Is a Digital Twin?
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object, process, or service. It uses real-time data, simulations, algorithms, and machine learning to help make real-world decisions. Digital twins are cheaper than actual prototypes and allow teams to run thousands of tests using software.
Digital twins are a vital tool to help companies understand not just how things perform, but how they will perform or react in the future. Complex virtual models can be built, dissected, and studied. Teams can collect data and iterate designs to find the ideal solution that is safe and effective.
What Are the Types of Digital Twins?
There are typically three types of digital twins.
- Product — Digital twins used to design new products.
- Production — Digital twins used to validate processes manufacturing or production.
- Performance — Digital twins used to collect data, analyze, and make decisions.
The combination and integration of these three types of digital twins is known as a digital thread. This can be woven into other products by collecting data at every stage of the product and production lifecycle.
How Do Digital Twins Work?
To create a digital twin, engineers collect and synthesize physical, manufacturing, and operational data. But how do companies bring all this information together and visualize it?
Game Engines + Digital Twin Software
For a long time, digital twins were expensive to create. Companies needed to hire full-time developers and engineers, plus invest in complex software. Testing was limited and there was no way to visualize the data.
But game engines have changed everything. With game engines — like Unreal and Unity — teams can generate photorealistic environments to replicate real-world behavior. They can actually see how changes will impact the final design and put together and pull apart models to analyze each individual element.
Game engines are powerful enough to run thousands of tests with less software and specified resources. And when it comes to an end product, game engines can also help enhance the customer’s buying experience. Digital twins can be used for marketing, allowing people to experience the virtual product before they buy. Extending digital twins to AR/VR has limitless possibilities.
How Can You Build Digital Twins?
Forward-thinking industries are driving new innovations like digital twins with the power of game tech. You can too.
Digital Twins Examples in Industries
Virtual 3D models like digital twins have a lot of use cases. Let’s dive into a few digital twin examples.
Digital Twins Examples in Manufacturing
Manufactures have been using digital twins to optimize everything from end-to-end supply chain, to operations, quality management and custom production. Testing several solutions before products are actually created helps determine the best options when it comes to cost, services, and capacity. Organizations can minimize the impact of disruption while determining the best secondary source of supply.
Aerospace company Boeing used digital twins to predict the performance of different components. This led to a 40% improvement rate in first-time quality, saving development time and money. They even used IoT sensors to achieve the ideal cargo load balance, ensuring each flight delivered the ideal amount. With digital twins, manufacturing companies can boost reliability and efficiently. They can continuously learn and help avoid issues in the future.
But it is not just engineering teams that can develop and innovate using digital twins. That’s because digital twins in manufacturing can aid in customizing products for customers. Individualizing manufacturing cuts down on prototyping cost. Consumers can actually see the final product because they can change their preferences on the fly and see how they would turn out.
By 2025, up to 89% of all IoT platforms will include digital twins, with it becoming a standard feature in the industry by 2027.
Digital Twins Examples in Automotive
CAD tools that were static and did not offer highly dynamic views are now transformed with real-time rendering. Crash tests can be simulated, and physics altered to learn how a car will perform on different terrain or in unique situations. Pulling back the sheet metal, teams can see what happens to the frame, sensors, and other internal components.
But digital twins allow companies to do more than crash testing. They can use gaming technology to train driver assistance systems with synthetic sensor data. Playing out every scenario in detail helps test safety requirements and build vehicles that can react correctly without a driver present.
These are just two digital twin examples. Digital twins are expanding into almost every industry. Cities are using them to simulate traffic patterns. Companies are doing medical research for clinical trials. And digital twins are being used to train AI models.
As technology continues to advance, it is important to have the right digital twin software to manage development.
Digital Twins Software — What You Need
To create digital twins, you need a strong software foundation to manage the large (and numerous) design files and massive amounts of data. Storing and versioning these assets is critical to see how the product evolves. It is also necessary to meet auditing and safety requirements.
To meet the demands, digital twins require a high-performant, enterprise-grade system that can secure assets and scale as projects grow. Helix Core — version control from Perforce — has been used by game development companies for years. Because just like automotive and manufacturing companies looking to build digital twins, game development involves a lot of large digital assets.
Why Helix Core For Building Digital Twins?
Helix Core delivers lightning-fast performance companies need. Unlike other version control systems, it can manage all the large digital assets that are involved in development. Plus, it can track changes as they evolve and secure assets down to the individual file.
Binary assets, design files, CAD drawings, and more can all be managed inside a Helix Core depot. Then assets can then be pulled into your game engine. Using Helix Core gives your team a single source of truth, ensuring that you always have the latest version across teams.
Use Helix Core with any popular game engine, including:
With Perforce Federated Architecture, you can even deliver large files around the globe, enhancing collaboration across teams. Helix Core offers superior performance whether you are on-premises or are using the cloud. If you are using game engines for digital twins, you can sync and transport large files where you need them without the WAN wait.
Future Scope of Digital Twins
As more companies use digital twins to build products, they can start building up entire ecosystems. Products can react in a virtual environment, giving real-time data to help develop future internet of things (IoT) products and more.
Ready to start building digital twins? Get access to the white paper: "Start Innovating with Digital Twins Technology" for more digital twins examples + how to begin development and succeed with this technology.