What is a Digital Twin? From Concept to Reality

Embark on a journey into the heart of digital twins, uncovering their pivotal role in reducing time-to-market, increasing revenue, and contributing to environmental sustainability in manufacturing. Revolutionize your approach with insights from our in-depth guide.

Sofia Von Platen
Sofia Von Platen
8 min read

The concept of a digital twin has emerged as a transformative force, especially for companies in manufacturing and aerospace & defense. A digital twin serves as a virtual counterpart, offering a detailed representation of physical objects, persons, or processes within a digital environment. This guide aims to provide comprehensive insights into what digital twins are, their business benefits, how to get started, challenges in implementation, and the future implications.


What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is not just a mere simulation; it is a virtual replica intricately linked to real data sources, providing real-time updates and behavioural insights. In manufacturing, digital twins come in various forms, such as product twins, production plant twins, procurement, and supply chain twins, and infrastructure twins. The interconnectedness of these digital twins forms what is known as an enterprise metaverse, a digital environment optimizing simulations, scenario planning, and decision-making.


Business Benefits of Digital Twins

Reduction in Time to Market

Digital twins play a crucial role in expediting product development by allowing rapid iterations and optimizations. This results in faster time-to-market, enabling companies to stay ahead of the competition.


Revenue Increase and Customer Interaction

Research indicates that organizations can achieve revenue increases of up to 10% by developing digital twins for their customers. Customer twins, provide immersive experiences without physical interaction.


Environmental Sustainability

For manufacturing, product digital twins contribute to sustainability efforts by reducing material usage and improving traceability, leading to a significant reduction in environmental waste.


Getting Started with Digital Twins

Digital Maturity

Implementing digital twins requires a robust digital infrastructure and the talent to maintain it. Companies need to focus on enhancing their digital maturity by ensuring high-quality data availability from both testing and live environments. Read more about modern data flows in our article What is a Digital Thread.


Starting Simple

Companies can initiate their digital twin journey by starting with simple products or processes. Some have seen success by twinning basic products, like toothbrushes, to gain real-time customer feedback. As the initial use case proves successful, additional layers of information can be added to further enhance the digital twin.


Building and Scaling

The journey from a single digital twin to an enterprise metaverse involves creating a blueprint, building the base digital twin, and continuously boosting capabilities. This progression includes evolving from mere representation to simulations through the incorporation of AI and advanced modelling techniques.


Challenges of Implementing Digital Twins

Complexity and Cost

While the benefits of digital twins are substantial, there are challenges, notably in the complexity and cost of creating exact replicas. Companies need to weigh the costs against the potential advantages, ensuring that the investment aligns with the specific needs of their industry.


Industries and Projects

Digital twins prove most beneficial for companies involved in large-scale projects or those dealing with complex systems, such as those in manufacturing, aerospace & defense, and power utilities. A digital twin of bigger assets such as helicopters or aeroplanes allow for major cast saving in training and diagnostics.


Future of Digital Twins

Cognitive Advancements

As technology advances, digital twins constantly learn new skills and capabilities, offering unprecedented insights to enhance products and streamline processes.


Impact on Industries

The integration of physical and digital views is reshaping operating models in asset-intensive industries. In manufacturing and aerospace & defense, digital twins are becoming integral to transforming asset operations.


C. Limitless Potential

The global digital twin market is poised for significant growth, reaching USD 73.5 billion by 2027. The ongoing evolution and integration of digital twins in industries like manufacturing and aerospace & defense indicate limitless potential for innovation and efficiency.


In conclusion, the adoption of digital twins represents a paradigm shift in how companies approach design, production, and decision-making. For manufacturing and aerospace & defense industries, embracing digital twins opens doors to unprecedented levels of efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness in the ever-evolving global marketplace.


If you want to learn more about how Empact can help your implement digital twins into your manufacturing and maintenance processes, contact us for a meeting.