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What Are Digital Twins? 4 Types & Benefits

If you could design and test a prototype before it ever made it to the shop floor, wouldn’t you? What about inspecting a broken machine without putting an employee at risk? With CAD or CAE systems, you can.

In this article, we’ll discuss what is a digital twin, how they work, and why they are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry at large.


What Are Digital Twins?

Digital twins are virtual duplicates of physical items, devices, processes, or systems. The purpose of creating a digital twin is to test and evaluate a machine or system’s performance under a variety of scenarios without having to alter, damage, or destroy the object. This results in cost savings and advanced testing of systems.

Digital twins are created using real-time data and simulation models to mirror and predict the performance of their real-world counterparts. This technology allows for detailed analysis and monitoring, enabling better decision-making and optimization in manufacturing.


What’s the Difference Between a Digital Twin vs Simulation?

As opposed to a simulation, a digital twin is continuously updated using real-time data collected by sensors and other types of IIoT devices. This means that a digital twin is much more connected with it’s real-world counterpart than a simple simulation.


4 Types of Digital Twins

While the types of digital twins are only limited by your imagination, here are 4 of the most common digital twins manufacturers use.

1. Product Digital Twins

Product digital twins are used by design teams, engineers, and marketing and sales teams to model and monitor a product. Design teams may use a digital twin during development to model a product. Engineering teams use digital twins to test and improve products. Sales and marketing can use digital twins to demo products for customers. All teams are able to identify problems and potential issues before prototypes are made or products reach customers.

2. System Digital Twins

System digital twins are useful to any team that works with complex systems in manufacturing, including assembly lines, power grids, and transportation networks. This type of digital twin offers insights into different components of a system, making optimization of systems easier.

3. Asset Digital Twins

Asset digital twins are useful for managing factory assets. For example, you might create a digital twin of a machine in your factory to monitor its condition over time and predict maintenance needs. This data can also come in handy when optimizing for efficiency or selecting new machines.

4. Process Digital Twins

Process digital twins can be used by all departments, from human resources to accounting. Project management will find this type of digital twin especially insightful. Process twins focus on simulating and analyzing manufacturing or business processes. They help your team understand workflows, identify inefficiencies, and test the impact of changes in the process without disrupting the actual operation.


Benefits of Digital Twin Technology

The benefits of digital twins in manufacturing are innumerable and only continue to grow. However, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Better product design and development
  • Reduced downtime and costs
  • Advanced customization and configuration
  • Real-time control and monitoring
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • More informed decision making


Learn More About Digital Twins and IIoT

If you’d like to take your manufacturing business to the next level with digital twins, we’re here to help. Contact our experts at ProphecyIoT to learn how to create any type of digital twin that your business needs.

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