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Digital Twins: Helping Enterprises to Drive Sustainability

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Global organizations across major sectors are leaning towards digital twins as a catalyst to not only improve operational performance, but also to fulfil their sustainability goals. By being able to simulate the physical world, digital twins can help organizations to better utilize resources, reduce carbon emissions, optimize supply, as well as increase employee safety.

A recent report reveals that digital twin implementations are set to increase by 36% on average over the next five years. This indicates a growing appetite for digital twin technology across all industries looking to advance their digital transformation journeys and adding intelligence to operations across their value chain.

Also Read: How Digital Manufacturing is Transforming the Manufacturing Industry

Digital twin for Sustainability: Digital twin technologies have allowed organizations to either directly or indirectly repurpose their sustainability values. Digital twins can virtually help them to look beyond the existing model of extract, produce, consume, and dispose. Thus, enterprises or even city planners have options to shift to a “circular economy” system that considers almost zero production of waste and pollution and helps to recreate natural systems.

Digital twin technologies can also lead to faster time-to-market. Because of this, digital twins have been used by 60 percent of electric vehicles’ manufacturers and more than 75 percent of global wind power plants.

Increased adoption of Digital Twin: In order to contain global warming, efforts to move toward new energy sources and adoption of the circular economy will drive a strategic shift in business KPIs that will enable future success. Digital twins are a catalyst to this process, enabling improved process design, greater insight, and better operational integrity. Many future-ready organizations have already embraced the technology to build new capabilities and design a new model towards their sustainability goals.

To maximise the impact, digital twins must be elevated from focusing on micro assets to macro processes within an enterprise, gradually shifting the focus towards the entire enterprise, the industry and then the city.

Empowering the Manufacturing Industry: Asset-intensive or heavy industries such as manufacturing typically address sustainability challenges through three primary ways: resource efficiency, circular economy, and energy transition. Short-term projects are often focused towards resource efficiency, energy optimization, and water consumption. Long-term efforts are directed toward fundamental changes in processes to find new sources of energy, new ways of creating products, and recycling and reduction of waste. The energy-hungry industry is forced to transition to alternative energies and invest in new technologies to reach its sustainability goals.

Digital twin is one such technology that is helping them to monitor and identify ways to become more efficient by reducing waste and optimizing product operations. It also helps them to select the right materials for manufacturing purposes leading to greater energy savings.

Conclusion

As organisations and societies mature, digital twins can mature with them from identifying anomalies to forecasting the future, proposing interventions, and enabling them to achieve digital transformation. It will create enormous impact across the lifecycle of the asset, process, system, and the organisation itself – creating value from CAPEX to OPEX through continuous innovation and delivery.

Digital twins drive disruptive innovation, enable new service development, reduce environment risks, and encourage cross-functional collaboration. Digital twins can be used to power systemic progress towards a more circular economy and help leaders to achieve their sustainability imperatives.

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