INSIGHTS

Digital Twins: Demystifying Common Misconceptions

7 min read ·

Oct 7

Karin Louw

In a world driven by digital technology, it’s important to clearly differentiate between facts and fiction. Digital twins are advanced virtual models that accurately replicate physical objects. They provide extensive analysis, simulation, and monitoring capabilities, helping industries optimise operations and anticipate issues in advance. Misconceptions, however, often overshadow the true potential of digital twins. This leads to missed opportunities for innovation and growth.

Based on our experience working with global enterprises, we’ve uncovered four common misconceptions about digital twins that we want to debunk. This article will shed light on the path to innovation and exponential growth, and explain how these innovative solutions are revolutionising the digital twin landscape.

Four common misconceptions about digital twins

1. Digital twins are just 3D models

This misconception stems from digital twins’ visual attributes. Many imagine digital twins as only three-dimensional copies of physical systems, focusing solely on their visual elements. But digital twins offer much more. Beyond mirroring the look of an object, system, or process, they encapsulate unique features and traits.

Take a house, for example. Its digital twin showcases not just architectural design and layout, but also delves into energy efficiency, materials, and other operational elements, offering a well-rounded view beyond mere aesthetics.

Digital twins’ real worth lies in the extensive information and insights they provide. A car’s digital twin, for instance, can deliver insights into aspects like engine power, fuel consumption, and the materials and weight of the doors, providing a multifaceted understanding beyond a typical 3D model.

When it comes to process systems like manufacturing lines or treatment plants, the value of digital twins becomes even more evident. By merging operational data, digital twins accurately depict the system’s current state and operation, allowing for a detailed analysis and insights into system performance and potential enhancements.

2. Digital twins are only for large corporations.

This common misconception holds that digital twins are just for big corporations. People often think that only large companies have the technological and financial resources to create and manage digital twins. This view is outdated and doesn’t reflect the current inclusive and democratised landscape of digital twin technology.

In truth, digital twin technology is far-reaching and accessible. It’s not just for the big players. Even smaller businesses and individuals can harness the power of digital twins.

With the right visual assets and real-world data, anyone can create and use effective digital twins. This broad access transforms digital twin technology from an exclusive tool to a universally valuable resource, applicable for businesses and projects of any size.

By dispelling the myth that digital twins are just for large corporations, we pave the way for broader adoption of this game-changing technology. It promises incredible progress and improvement across diverse fields, empowering organisations of all sizes to use digital twins, driving progress, and unlocking new avenues of growth.

In terms of security and accessibility, digital twins are now securely hosted on the cloud, adhering to high safety standards and enabling access from anywhere in the world.

3. Digital twins are a one-size-fits-all approach.

There’s a common misunderstanding that digital twins are a universal solution that fits all scenarios. This idea comes from a lack of or incorrect information about digital twins. Many think that one standard digital twin can apply to any system or object, ignoring the unique needs of different areas and industries.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Digital twins need personalised attention and detailing. Each digital twin accurately mirrors the real-world processes it represents, whether for chemical refining, waste and water treatment, or packaging. This tailored approach ensures that every digital twin acts as a trusted and effective tool for monitoring, analysing, and enhancing processes.

Recognising that digital twins are not a one-size-fits-all solution but a flexible and adaptable technology underlines their extensive applicability and usefulness. It showcases their potential as a custom tool offering insight, efficiency, and innovation in various contexts, ensuring each digital twin is as unique as the system it echoes.

4. Digital twins are difficult to access, operate and manage.

The misconception that digital twins are tough to navigate stems from their association with complex virtual reality systems. The many software components that simulate real-world systems might seem overwhelming, leading people to believe that working with digital twins is an intricate task.

This is not the case. Modern advancements have made it easier to create and manage digital twins. Now, the cloud securely hosts them, adhering to high safety standards and enabling access from anywhere in the world. This feature lets users interact with these comprehensive tools on any internet-connected device, eliminating access barriers.

Strong security and consistent updates contribute to a smooth and reliable user experience. Far from being cumbersome or inaccessible, digital twins highlight the potential of contemporary technology to make advanced tools user-friendly and widely accessible. Recognising this fact allows various sectors to fully harness the capabilities of digital twins for enhanced insights, decision-making, and efficiency across multiple fields and industries.

Digital Twins – The Sand Technologies Approach

Now that we’ve cleared up some common misconceptions about digital twins, let’s talk about our approach to this important technology.

At the heart of our strategy is a strong commitment to accessibility, scalability, and accuracy. Our goal is to make sure businesses of all sizes can use the power of digital twins, creating an environment where innovation thrives.

Our three key pillars

  1. Asset modelling. Define the ideal by creating “What should be”: virtual copies that mirror real-world assets in appearance, behaviour, and operation.
  2. Performance monitoring. Capture the reality by understanding “What is”: combine real-world operational data with virtual models to form data twins, offering insights into the actual performance and highlighting discrepancies.
  3. Intelligent decision-making. Forecast scenarios by considering “What if”: use various scenarios to predict outcomes and make informed, proactive decisions.

 

Each pillar plays a vital role in ensuring that digital twins accurately reflect their physical counterparts and offer valuable insights for improved operational efficiency and development.

Delving deeper

In our approach to digital twins, we use physics-based models to create virtual representations of physical assets. These models accurately depict appearance, behaviour, and operation, providing crucial insights into system performance.

Virtual models

Our models serve as a reliable benchmark for operational performance in process systems, allowing for a thorough understanding and assessment of each specific system.

Data twins

We bridge the gap between virtual and real-world scenarios by using real-world operational data to create data twins. This helps identify and address disparities between ideal and real systems efficiently.

Predictive insights and simulation capabilities
We harness the power of intelligent data science and machine learning models to provide comprehensive predictive insights. This proactive strategy enables the early identification of potential issues or risks, allowing for timely and effective interventions.

Risk-free simulation

Our models offer risk-free simulation capabilities, allowing users to explore hypothetical scenarios without consequences. By adjusting operational process set-points, users can confidently determine the most effective course of action, both in the short and long term, in a secure environment.

Conclusion

In short: forget the misconceptions. Digital twins are practical and effective tools for improving insight, efficiency, and innovation.

At Sand Technologies, we build our approach on three core principles: detailed asset modelling, comprehensive performance monitoring, and informed decision-making. Our goal is straightforward – make digital twins accessible, accurate, and beneficial for all businesses, big or small.

By focusing on adaptable and tailored strategies, we ensure our solutions meet the unique needs of each system, emphasising the real-world applications of digital twins as a key ingredient across various sectors.

Share

Other articles that may interest you

Let's talk about your next big project.