How to Bridge the Physical and Digital World Through Digital Twinning by@sanjay-kidecha

How to Bridge the Physical and Digital World Through Digital Twinning

Simply speaking, a digital twin is a virtual form of a real-life product or a service. The digital twin conceptual architecture presents an up-to-date image of a physical asset and changes the output in real-time. The sensors bring in an accurate input to the system, and the data evolves. Meaning, any changes in the physical form are reflected in the digital form.
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Sanjay Kidecha

Sanjay Kidecha is the CMO of Kody Technolab. He loves to explore and write on latest Tech Trends.

Well, it looks like we are at the cusp of a technological innovation explosion. The advancement in technology aids in optimizing industrial operations, and it also increases the accuracy of the results. This blog talks about the technology that gained a tremendous boost after the advent of the Internet of Things.

Digital Twinning: The concept has been in existence since 2002, but it was only later that it got started to be used at its full potential. 

Michael Grieves, a research professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, thought of the concept of Digital Twinning during his doctorate days. In his early days, he referred to the concept as “Doubleganger.” The concept evolved through many years of research, and it has reached a level that can be identified as such powerful technology in current times. 

If you are into supply chain and logistic management, “digital twinning” would be the buzzword you would have heard quite often. What is it all about? Why is it so enticing to explore the potential of digital twinning in logistics? Well, we would be discussing Digital Twinning technology and how digital twins technology in logistics can bring a turnaround.

A stunning note on digital twinning:

A survey result shows that the digital twin market will grow at the rate of 37-38% annually and will cross $26 billion by 2025.

The unparalleled potential of digital twinning is making waves in the logistic sector. The tremendous benefits of this technology will help the industry in anticipating errors that could possibly result in disaster if not solved.

Let me give you an example:

Imagine that your logistics need to pass through the middle of the ocean and reach offshore. Suddenly, the ship explodes, putting danger to your consignment, human resources, as well as marine life. 

If you could envisage this situation, you would have been able to control or monitor the situation. 

What if I tell you that digital twinning would help you do exactly the same? It will replicate the real-life situation in a virtual form, and based on the analysis of the past data, will help you optimize the operations.

I hope this gives you a rough idea of the functioning of digital twin technology. However, we will also explain it to you by definition. 

What is a digital twin?

Simply speaking, a digital twin is a virtual form of a real-life product or a service. The digital twin conceptual architecture presents an up-to-date image of a physical asset and changes the output in real-time. The sensors bring in an accurate input to the system, and the data evolves. Meaning, any changes in the physical form are reflected in the digital form.

How does the digital twin technology work?

The physical asset is integrated with sensors to capture real-time data of the situation. It collects the working data and records it in a sensor. The smart components, aka sensors, are attached to the cloud-based system and processed further. The physical world is thus connected to the virtual world, and the inputs are analyzed accordingly. 

This bridging enhances the product lifecycle, predictive capabilities and helps you make informed decisions. 

If I am to give you the highlights of Digital Twinning, it goes like this;

The technology gives you actionable insights and alerts the simulations. These simulations make it possible for you to make faster and efficient decisions.

You can have a collection of historical data and real-time data, all in one place.

Digital twinning will enhance the predictive capabilities of the business. Also, when it is combined with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, it takes the whole experience to another level.

By creating digital twins of the physical factory assets, the business can have speedy results and improve the efficacy of operations.

This was the general overview of the concept; now, let’s narrow it down to digital twinning in the logistics industry.

The logistic businesses had a long walk towards digitization. It's been a long since this particular industry demanded an intelligent ecosystem. Well, digital twinning seems to have unlocked the demand.

The combination of the digital twin with advanced machine learning and analytics seems to open floodgates of new opportunities. Logistics app development company would thereafter be able to simply multitude of tasks in the warehouse and vehicle loading.

“Looking ahead, we believe that the adoption of digital twins across industries will drive better decision making in the physical world. That, in turn, will drive significant changes in the operation of supply chains and logistics processes,” wrote Matthias Heutger, senior vice president, global head of innovation and commercial development, and Markus Kückelhaus, vice president, innovation & trend research at DHL in a recent report by DHL on the impact of digital twins on the logistics industry.

The above words give a sigh of relief, especially when the tasks involve solving a challenging endeavor. Now, let us look into the details of digital twinning applications in logistics.

Performance prediction of packaging materials:

Packaging is an integral part of logistics. Every consignment of the products is wrapped in one or the other form of packaging—the majority of the time, single-use packaging, which can be a threat to the environment.

Especially when there is a surge in demand for logistics due to covid times, single-use packaging can lead to significant waste and a reduction in operational efficiency. 

However, by using material digital twins along with computer vision technologies, you can reckon any major problems/defects. You can check the feasibility of the packaging material by testing the digital twin material against the historical data. 

Thereby, it would be easy for you to trace a consignment movement and its influence on the packaging. You can make an early decision, whether you should repair or replace the packaging material. 

Hence, by digital twin implementation in packaging, you can contribute towards a more environmentally friendly ecosystem.

Upgrade shipment protection:

You probably know that there are a lot of logistic activities involved in logistics management. Shipment delivery of sensitive products like medicines involves temperature monitoring, vibration, and shock management. Any level of mismanagement can destroy the product quality.

On the other hand, digital twinning would analyze the collected data through the sensors and give you an accurate result about the packaging condition. You can know the recurring trends of the data and safeguard the shipment.

Logistics companies are finding this way of shipment more safe and promising, which is why they are planning to shift their packing strategies towards digital twins.

Digital twins and warehouses:

A major part of resource distribution goes into warehouse management. A lot of effort goes into optimizing the warehouse operations from the entry to the exit of the material.

Digital twinning in the warehouse gives you a 3D model of the area, which can further be combined with the Internet of Things data and other available data. The technology will give you a way to use the space and help you define the movement and placement of products. 

You can also combine the power of digital twinning with other advanced technologies like drone-based inventory counting systems, driverless transport systems, etc. In all, the implementation of the technology will help in improving the performance of the warehouse.

The 3D layout helps you detect any abnormalities in the warehouse and mend them at the earliest.

# Digital twinning and global logistics networks:

Human error or manual inputs can often slow down logistics operations. Additionally, the management of assets like cargo airports, container ports, railway lines, ocean routes, etc., is a bit complex. 

Digital twinning will boost the autonomous capabilities of the assets. The technology will give details about the geographical map such as land level, water level, shipment arrival time, etc. The inbuilt cameras and sensors will identify the roadblocks, parking limitations, traffic speeds, etc.

A use case scenario of this type of digital twinning is the functioning of the Port of Rotterdam. It has collaborated with IBM to identify the ways in which it can improve operational efficiency. The digital twinning technology will check the infrastructure details, weather conditions, water depth, and a lot more.

#Boost up a dynamic delivery network:

Digital twinning would be a blessing in disguise for logistic businesses operating on all major routes, air, land, or sea. Logistic business owners would have comprehensive geographical data of the routes and details of it in real-time. Details about traffic or roadblocks would help in strategizing travel routes and optimize the travel time.

Additionally, satellite and aerial photography would add to the comfort of the technology advancement. 

Which other technologies can empower the Supply chain, digital twins?

Digital Twinning in itself is a powerful technology that will bring a revolution in the logistics industry. However, a few other technologies that will aid in this journey are:

  • Internet of Things;
  • Cloud computing;
  • Artificial intelligence;
  • Geographic Information System;
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality;
  • Open APIs;

Final Words:

Looking at the above analysis and the list of benefits, it looks like digital twinning will have widespread adoption in the near future. However, the concept is still evolving and will uncover plenty of opportunities in the coming times. Ultimately, this technology is here to transform your business.

If you are excited to deploy the technology and gain a competitive advantage, you should seek help from an experienced and well-versed technology company. Well, while signing it off, I would only say, be ready to explore the unparalleled capabilities of your business. 

Sanjay Kidecha is the CMO of Kody Technolab.

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