How do you make a digital twin?

How do you make a digital twin?

There are many different types of digital twins, each tailored to specific industries and purposes. They range from simple virtual replicas to complex digital models capable of optimizing performance in real time.

In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of creating a digital twin, breaking down each step with clear instructions. Whether you're in manufacturing, healthcare, or any other industry, you'll find practical tips to tailor your digital twin to your specific needs and goals.

You can expect us to cover the following topics:

  • Definition of a digital twin
  • Types of digital twins
  • Benefits of using digital twin technology
  • Building blocks of a digital twin
  • Software recommendations
  • How to make a digital twin using TeliportMe software

Definition of a Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset, process, or system. It is created by capturing and integrating data from sensors, cameras, or other sources to create a digital replica that mirrors its physical counterpart.

Types of Digital Twins

Digital twin models can depict anything from individual components to complete systems. While each type serves the same fundamental purpose—virtually modeling real-world objects or systems—they vary significantly in their objectives and scope. The four primary types of digital twins are:

Component Twins

Component twins represent digital versions of specific parts within a system or product, such as gears or screws. Unlike modeling every single part, component twins focus on crucial components, especially those subjected to specific stresses or temperatures. By digitally simulating these parts, designers, and engineers can identify improvements to enhance their performance and integrity under expected conditions.

Asset Twins

Asset twins, also known as product twins, depict digital versions of entire physical products rather than individual components. While they may incorporate multiple component twins, asset twins aim to understand how different parts function together within a single real-world product. For instance, a wind turbine may have an asset twin used for monitoring its performance and detecting potential parts failures caused by regular wear and tear.

System Twins

System twins, or unit twins, are virtual representations of interconnected product systems. While asset twins focus on individual products composed of multiple parts, system twins portray these products as components within a larger system. Understanding the interactions between assets enables improvements in their relationships, leading to enhanced productivity and efficiency.

Process Twins

Process twins are digital depictions of interconnected systems in operation. For instance, while a system twin may simulate a manufacturing line, a process twin could model the entire factory, including employees operating machines on the production floor. This comprehensive representation aids in optimizing workflows and identifying areas for improvement across the entire operational process.

Digital twins make it easier for users to visualize spaces compared to traditional methods.

Benefits of Using Digital Twin Technology

1. Improve Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Digital Twins play a critical role in optimizing operations, leading to enhanced efficiency and substantial cost reductions. By creating a virtual representation of a physical system or process, organizations can also identify design flaws and test solutions in a virtual environment, thereby saving time and resources.

2. Mitigate Risk

Digital twins enable companies to foresee potential issues before they escalate by simulating scenarios and monitoring the real-time data of their physical counterparts. This predictive capacity facilitates timely maintenance, helping to avoid downtime and reduce repair costs.

3. Accelerate Innovation

Digital twin technology accelerates innovation by allowing businesses to iterate designs and test products before they are built. It radically improves product lifecycle management by offering insights into each stage of a product's life, from conception to disposal.

Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms embedded in digital twins analyze historical patterns and current data to predict future trends. For instance, they can forecast demand patterns, identify potential bottlenecks, or predict the impact of disruptions on the supply chain.

5. Use as Valuable Documentation

Digital twins offer precise virtual replicas of physical assets or systems, providing detailed documentation of their configurations, components, and conditions. This can be used for insurance purposes, for example, to accurately assess the value of assets, evaluate risks, and expedite claims processing.

A digital twin of a building can provide detailed information on its structure and layout.

Building Blocks of a Digital Twin

Although it might seem complicated, in reality, creating a digital twin is often quite simple. Essentially, it boils down to just two key building elements:

1. Data Collection Mechanism

Gathering data is the first step in building a digital twin. Data collection mechanisms can include cameras, IoT sensors, data streams, and even manual input.

2. Software

Advancements in software capabilities have been instrumental in bringing digital twins to fruition. These innovations have enabled the creation of sophisticated modeling and simulation tools, providing the foundation for developing accurate and dynamic digital replicas of physical assets and systems.

Software Recommendations

Developing a state-of-the-art digital twin necessitates the use of sophisticated software that can support complex simulations and data analysis.

The following software has proved successful in their respective industries:

  • SmartSignal and Asset Performance Management by GE: provide real-time monitoring of jet engines, wind-farms, off-shore oil rigs, power generation equipment, pumps, compressors, chillers, and more.
  • Tecnomatix by Siemens: a comprehensive digital manufacturing software suite designed to streamline and optimize manufacturing processes, offering the two powerful products of Process Simulate and Plant Simulation.
  • aPriori Digital Manufacturing Simulation Software: cloud-based platform used by manufacturers to unlock cost, manufacturability, and carbon insights for increased product profitability and sustainability. Geared toward aerospace, defense, automotive, and industrial equipment industries.
  • TeliportMe Virtual Tour Software: enables users to create immersive and interactive virtual tours using panoramic images and 360-degree photographs. Best for property documentation.

How to Make a Digital Twin Using TeliportMe Software

TeliportMe is a powerful platform that enables users to create digital twins of real-world environments, such as a room or building. In theory, if you were able to capture enough images, you could build a model of the Earth.

Limitation: While TeliportMe can create accurate 3D models of your space, digitally timestamping individual components, it does not support BIM integration.

Ideal for:

  • Property owners seeking comprehensive documentation for insurance purposes
  • Real estate agencies using immersive virtual tours to appeal to potential buyers
  • Construction project stakeholders requiring remote visualization and progress tracking
  • Educational institutions providing virtual campus tours for prospective students
  • Business owners interested in marketing their goods/services to prospective customers
  • Hotels and tourist destinations offering virtual tours of accommodations and facilities for informed booking decisions
  • Organizations preserving cultural heritage sites with virtual access to historic locations

Follow these steps to create your own digital twin:

  1. Create a free account with TeliportMe: You can't create a phenomenal digital twin without phenomenal software. We recommend beginning with TeliportMe's unlimited free trial. It allows you to try out all of the advanced features without any need to provide credit card information. Once you're satisfied with your digital twin and ready to share it, you can host your digital twin for as little as $19 per month.
  2. Take pictures of your space: You can use various digital cameras, including your smartphone, to capture all the images necessary to create your digital twin. While utilizing TeliportMe's dedicated app for Android and iOS can simplify this process, note that smartphones are only able to capture a cylindrical view of your space. In contrast, a dedicated 360-degree camera will capture a complete spherical panorama, with full views of the ceiling and floor. (For an in-depth exploration of the best 360-degree cameras on the market, we suggest reading this article.)
  3. Edit and add interactive elements: To enrich your digital twin, consider integrating videos, audio files, and descriptive text to offer comprehensive information about specific points of interest. This enables you to include details that may be difficult to communicate through visuals alone, enhancing the overall user experience and understanding.
  4. Share: Using TeliportMe, you have multiple options to share your digital twin: link, embed code, iframe embed code, javascript embed code, or QR code. For enhanced security, you can opt to password-protect your digital twin. (You can find a quick video tutorial on how to share your digital twin here.)

Challenges and Considerations in Adopting Digital Twin Technology

To leverage digital twin technology effectively, you must address several key challenges:

  1. Overcoming a learning curve: While new technologies can make life easier, some people may resist them.
  2. Cost and resource constraints: Creating a digital twin requires investment in software and allocation of resources for data collection, potentially posing challenges in budgeting and staffing.
  3. Scalability: Your project may grow in volume and complexity, requiring periodic updates to your digital twin.

Interested in learning more?