Digital twins first appeared two decades ago and were limited to aerospace and other hardware-intensive manufacturing industries. Today, digital twinning applications span nearly every industry. And as companies preparing to launch a new innovation recognize how this technology can drive cost-effective NPD, it’s fast becoming one of the most sought-after capabilities in a development partner.
What Is Digital Twinning?
As one industry leader put it, digital twinning is a way to break the laws of physics. How? Via simulations, companies that take advantage of this technology can travel back in time, accelerate time, and see into the future to gain actionable insights that drive business value.
From a technical perspective, digital twinning is the creation of an analytics model (or “mirror”) of real-world systems, processes, and physical assets (inputs) that serve as the basis for processing real-time data and augmenting human decision-making. Using data from IoT sensors attached to input sources to analyze their real-time status, these virtual models and digital replicas enable AI programs or human operators to monitor and learn from them. This allows companies to quickly spot problems, improve operations, fuel efficiency, and increase ROI.
At Pivot International, we are a global, one-source product design, development, manufacturing, and supply chain firm. As industry leaders in IoT, sensors, and digital evolution, our strategic investments include two mirrored Samsung high-speed SMT lines — the newest, most effective electronic manufacturing solution.
With fifty years of proven NPD and DFM experience, we help companies develop and deliver successful products for medical, industrial, security and defense, sports and entertainment, construction, and agricultural markets. And with 320,000 square feet of manufacturing space across three continents, digital twinning makes a competitive difference for our customers by driving down costs throughout the supply and value chain.
By mirroring production lines, digital twinning can perform identical specifications to maximize manufacturing volume, ramping production up when demand surges and scaling it back when it wanes. (Which also plays a critical role in inventory control.) Thanks to a shared server and database, manufacturing parameters can also be simultaneously reconfigured in response to emerging insights and developments.
Manufacturers that deploy digital twinning enable their customers to flexibly shift production from one facility to another to reduce the time and expense of distribution costs. Digital twinning, along with AI, mixed reality, robotics, and blockchain technologies, is emerging as the foundation for cost-effectively getting products to customers when and where they need them.
Too many companies — and the NPD partners they work with — suffer from siloed metrics and disconnective systems. The result is a lack of understanding about how performance in one area affects another, making it impossible to alter workflows to reduce friction and fuel efficiencies. Digital twinning — along with Pivot’s one-source business model — helps solve this problem. It breaks down silos and integrates systems with a virtual “boots on the ground” view, allowing companies to improve processes to reduce waste and redundancies, resolve sticking points, and make deliberate tradeoffs that support cost savings.
Supply Chain Transparency
Digital twinning is coming to play a prominent part in state-of-the-art supply chain and logistics. By combining static information – addresses, order dates, and cargo types – and real-time telemetry data on container location, asset conditions, and weather conditions – companies can get a virtual “eye in the sky” view of the supply chain in real-time. With supply chain pressures at an all-time high, the role of digital twinning in combatting disruption is proving more important than ever.
McKinsey reports that businesses are spending approximately $350 billion each year on warehousing, making fulfillment, and the infrastructure that supports it, a key competitive differentiator. Digital twinning provides visibility into this infrastructure, and applications span the spectrum from packaging and container to warehouse and distribution to inventory management and logistics networks.
As explained earlier, digital twinning can be a bit like a time machine, but it can also be compared to a crystal ball. By using this technology to help run sophisticated risk scenarios, including those informed by real-time data, companies are better able to foresee risks and successfully avoid threats.
Enhanced Equipment Security
Servicing industrial equipment after a problem has occurred can be incredibly costly. On the other hand, time and expense are too often channeled into “servicing” industrial equipment that is in perfect working order and will remain so indefinitely. But digital twinning detects issues early, reliably predicts when maintenance is in order, and can even initiate autonomous repair.
By now, it’s easy to see why digital twinning is an essential ingredient in NPD. If you’re gearing up to develop and deliver a winning innovation, Pivot is the partner you’ve been looking for. With an extensive portfolio of internationally award-winning products, a diverse suite of the latest digital technologies, and a collaborative approach to doing business, our teams will work closely with yours to fuel your market success. If you’d like to learn more about how Pivot can support your business objectives, contact ustoday.