Digital Twin Blogs

I’ve Glimpsed the Future: Why I Joined Element

I believe the next wave of innovation in the process and manufacturing industries will be driven by sharing and exchanging information about the lifecycle and performance of industrial equipment, from cradle to grave. This exchange will be driven by a tight collaboration between owner-operators, industrial equipment manufacturers, equipment service companies and other specialized suppliers that make up the industrial ecosystem.

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OSIsoft Accelerating Digital Transformation

For those of us who enjoy geeking out on industrial data, the OSIsoft User Conference (UC) is our Woodstock (Coachella for you Millennials), not just an event but a happening. UC’s pack hundreds of industrial data use cases into a few days, and are go-to events for engineers and IT professionals from diverse industries (oil and gas, biotech, power generation, data centers, pulp and paper) who come together to share best practices about how to solve hard problems with industrial data. 
 
While the UC has been around since 1991 in the U.S. (each Spring in San Francisco), its EMEA version is only five years old and the recent London UC had an impressive 1,500+ people attend.  Our Element Analytics team is a regular UC participant.  We like to learn what’s new in OSIsoft’s world, how companies are solving problems with their data and how Element can collaborate with them. 
 
Here are our takeaways from the London EMEA UC...

Architecture of a Digital Twin Service

In part one of this blog series, Andy defined digital twins and their importance for asset operators, and in part two, Sameer gave an overview of the path of digital twin evolution. In the final post of this three part series, I'm going to discuss the process for building and managing Digital Twins (DT’s) throughout their evolution in order for them to provide value to asset operators.  I’ll touch on the four main stages for building and managing DT’s: Data Collection, Data Pipelines, Data Egress, and Data Integrity.

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The Evolution of Digital Twins for Asset Operators

In Part I of this series on Digital Twins (DT) Andy crafted a great explanation of what a DT is, why it's need and the guiding principles on building DTs for Asset Operators. In Part II, I’ll address is the evolution of how we, as industrial asset operators will go through in adopting Digital Twins.

To refresh, a digital twin is a dynamic digital representation of the physical environment. We’re mostly familiar with DTs from the consumer world as the apps on our phones that manage your Nest Thermostats, the Philips Hue Light System’s color of the lights, the information about a Fitbit, or to summon a Tesla.

Unfortunately, for asset operators, these app-based consumer DTs don’t scale to the hundreds of thousands, even  millions, of measurement data streams required to operate modern industrial equipment and assets, whether it’s a discrete manufacturing line, oil refinery, or a large scale film production studio.

Two major trends, while creating a lot of marketing buzz, are pressuring asset operators and their supporting IT organization to act:

  1. Greater connectivity of our equipment with more sensing, typically referred to as “IIoT” or the Industrial Internet of Things
  2. Cheaper compute and storage allowing for more powerful analysis and operational improvement, a trend typically referred to as “Industry 4.0” or “Digital Transformation”

To connect those two trends you need digital twins. But which digital twin should asset operators pursue and how should they get started? We see DT’s evolving in stages, and the good news is that through past investments many companies already have ingredients in place to begin (and many have already started and not realized) their journey.


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Why Asset Operators Should Have Their Own Digital Twins

Digital Twins are a hot topic, landing on Tech analyst Gartner’s famed Hype Cycle and named a Top Ten Strategic Technology Trend for 2017.  Not a new idea (credit to Dr. Michael Grieves, 2002, Univ Michigan), Digital Twins are now at the forefront of Industrial /Internet of Things zeitgeist because they are essential to unlocking I/IoT value by enabling analysis, simulation and control of physical things and systems.

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