Why should process manufacturers adopt digital twins?

At the #ProcessAutomationAnalystDays2024 with Siemens in Karlsruhe, Germany, I explored the possibilities of what the next groundbreaking transformation the process manufacturing industry may undergo.

The large-scale, high-volume world of process manufacturing has plenty of challenges. Addressing waste, managing the labor shortage, and maintaining efficient equipment are some industry-agnostic daily drivers of process manufacturers. Sites attempt to relieve these pressures through documentation reduction and automation but experience continual setbacks when existing systems, such as control rooms, are still partially manual.

Building blocks consisting of gPROMS, COMOS, SIMIT, Mobile Worker, and XHQ make up the manufacturing plant’s digital twin, introducing new capabilities beyond dashboards and automation to manufacturers. From the integrated design and build of the plant to operations, the design, simulation, commissioning, and continual monitoring of production scenarios at the plant, process, and asset leve is possible. Digital twin capabilities provide a backbone for process manufacturers to evolve their businesses to be more sustainable and energy-efficient and train and optimize their workforce with simulation, data aggregation and analysis, and workforce integration into the IT/OT landscape.

I believe digital twins are crucial in advancing manufacturing and Industry 4.0. However, the Siemens digital twin left a mark on my opinion of how possible it is to unlock the full capabilities of a digital twin for process manufacturing. Truly connecting the real world and the digital world means these systems cannot simply be 3D renderings but must behave like the real world. Integrated solutions such as these across the process lifecycle promote a proper migration for manufacturers to embark on, not another technology to adopt.

Thank you, Bart Moors, for the excellent presentation on empowering the industrial metaverse with digital twins and for the pleasant and insightful conversation about your experiences throughout the week. Also, thank you to Oliver Satzger for organizing a fantastic event!

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