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Digital Twin Engineering

Digital twin engineering is aimed at optimizing all engineering processes in the lifecycle of a production plant in terms of time, quality and costs through the use of relevant digitalized models, new methods and digital tools.

The basis is the so-called digital twin. This virtual model of a production plant represents all necessary assets, systems and operations, allowing easy, fast and intuitive access to all relevant production and plant data. These data are comprised of static data, such as installation drawings, and flexible data, such as production data, information on system upsets and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Hence, the digital twin is not only a design tool for the engineering and construction of process plants, but stands in direct communication with the physical plant, being continuously updated throughout the lifecycle of the production plant. In this way, simulations, analyses, forecasts and information can be processed and visualized intuitively and in a user-friendly way.

The digital twin can be used for both new process plant projects and existing plants. For existing plants, the first step is to create a laser scan of the overall plant. This scan is then transferred to an intelligent model and complemented with all available information on the plant and the desired role-based data. The digital twin has two major applications:

Firstly, in conventional engineering where it is primarily used to ensure planning and cost security for manufacture and erection, but also to increase efficiency and hence minimize costs and resource allocation. Secondly, in production where the integration of operation-relevant data into the virtual model enables new opportunities. Typical examples are the use of mobile devices in the production environment or process simulation in the 3D model of the digital twin.

In future, the digital twin and the information provided by it will allow the generation of comprehensive models that can simulate the future production process before it is actually implemented in the real world. Thus, a process plant can be put into operation in the virtual domain long before it is actually built, and the insights gained can be used for further optimization. This translates into significantly shorter engineering, construction and commissioning times. Operating plants as multi-purpose plants becomes easier and more efficient. SpiraTec is already working in a fully integrated engineering environment. In future, engineering processes, project communication and project control will be largely automated via a virtual engineering interface. At the same time, we are developing solutions for deploying the digital twin in production.

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