Digital twin - Digital continuity

Digital twin and its real model - What added value do they generate together?

Published 05/14/2019 | updated 06/26/2023

Digitalization enables the implementation of a unique scenario: Procurement of exact digital reproductions of real objects provides important findings for the configuration of value-added processes. The demand for the so-called digital twin is enormous. It should be a complete digital representation of a physical object and simulate its properties and its real behavior as closely as possible. So, it must react identically to its real model under the same application conditions, insofar as possible. And the digital twins must age just like in real life, which means they accompany the real object throughout its entire life cycle.

Digital twin - Digital continuity

What added value does a digital twin provide?

The digital twin is a central element in concepts which are associated with continuously growing challenges due to shorter product cycles, customized products, massive cost pressure and shortened development times. In order to develop and manufacture high-quality products with appropriate sustainability and efficiency under these boundary conditions, the traditional "trial-and-error" method of physical construction of models and prototypes is only conditionally suitable.

On the digital twin, new ideas, concepts and innovations can be tested in simulation or even virtual commissioning. If the digital twin is constructed correctly and continuously updated in holistic concepts, intervening and controlling measures can be simulated ahead of time and implemented during industrial production. With this "real-time capability", significant potential benefits can be realized in the operation of smart factories. In addition to time and cost advantages, the flexibilization of production plants and the capacity utilization of the plants are emphasized.

What is the advantage a holistic concept for use of the digital twin?

In such scenarios, all value-creating activities are considered and taken into account. Then the purpose of one phase concept is to create "digital continuity" along the value-creation chain. Typically, there a variety of applications involved in product development, creation and service processes. However, some activities take place in the "analog" world instead and are not supported by digital systems.

Few companies have the opportunity to begin with a greenfield strategy and must establish consistent digital processes from the ground up. Organizations that have been active in the market for several years have an existing infrastructure that has grown over time and has often become heterogeneous due to acquisitions.

Whether the greenfield or "brownfield" strategy" - In order to exploit the full potential of the digital twin and utilize it as a competitive advantage, digital continuity must be established along the value-creation chain: Intelligent network of all processes must be established by means of a synchronized and standardized data flow.

The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. If the digital model should be used for control of the factory, it must be an exact replication of the reality at all times. If you know what everyday production in the factory is like, you will have great respect when facing this challenge!

Step-by-step success

Do not surrender any ground. On the one hand, there are innovative solutions that help to derive a digital replication of the current production status with a high degree of automation. On the other hand, you do not have to do everything at once. You can work step-by-step on the digital continuity: In the process, you can advance the vertical integration with respect to individual company functions. In parallel to this, horizontal networking can be established successively by means of a consistent data backbone.

Ultimately, the right mixture of long-term, strategic elements and an agile project procedure is decisive for success, wherein unsuccessful attempts are planned in and taken into consideration as part of the learning curve. "Think big" - "start small" - "start now" should be the philosophy as a motto of a project for a "digital twin and digital continuity". In order to set the transformation process in motion, it is sufficient to take small steps at first with a clear expected benefit. Boldness and continuity in action are essential.

Are you looking for the partner for your digital transformation? We look forward to a "smart" discussion.

Contact person

Swetlana Isaak

Swetlana Isaak

Communications Manager

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