Just imagine that you had a digital replica of the physical world around you, complete with all its dynamics – temperature, movement, shape, size, and whatnot.
What you could do with this digital replica is simply amazing. It would enable you to connect the physical and virtual worlds, intake real-time sensor data, simulate conditions, estimate probabilities, predict outcomes accurately, and generate instructions to manipulate the physical world better.
Well, Digital Twin does make every single bit of this possible.
The Digital Twin is a digitized virtual model of a physical entity designed to reflect it accurately for the uninitiated. A pairing of the virtual model (digital twin) and physical entity allows analysis of real-time data to monitor and prevent problems before they even occur and plan for the future with the help of simulations.
With a multitude of benefits, digital twin technology brings the exciting potential for construction companies. Applying digital twins to the construction sector helps lower risks, cut time, aid decision-making, reduce costs, and boost ROI.
In this blog, we will discuss how the digital twin is fast becoming a strategic tool for construction businesses and brings diverse applications to the sector.
Let's get started!
- The Benefits of Digital Twinning for Construction Businesses
- The Digital Twin Strategy for Construction Companies
Construction businesses today are under much pressure to build higher-quality buildings at lower costs. As a result, the company management expects them to innovate to boost efficiencies and become more competitive continually.
This is why digital twinning is becoming a much sought-after tech adoption by the sector. High-fidelity models of digital twins facilitate construction companies to test buildings even before they begin construction effectively. Moreover, digital twin assists construction professionals in avoiding common construction pitfalls that usually result in costly delays before or expensive renovations later.
Here's how digital twinning benefits construction companies.
For a construction professional like you, the digital twin technology offers a tremendous two-way flow of information that flows from the field to the digital twin and vice versa. In addition, it is a robust method of collaboration for everyone involved in your project. By adopting digital twinning, you can keep all your project teams on the same page and avoid unnecessary field visits because then you'll have real-time data at your disposal to make timely decisions. Remember, collaboration increases the probability of your project's success.
Also, process digitization and 24×7 data access with digital twinning will allow everyone to focus more on inter-team collaboration.
The digital twin can improve your project's profitability and considerably reduce construction costs. Besides, you can altogether avoid certain charges due to digital twinning's risk mitigation and accuracy in predictions.
Let me tell you how.
Digital twins that are virtual copies of real entities - processes, systems, and objects, are based on real-time data. Brilliant data points can assist you in remote monitoring and maintenance of the critical processes in your company. This will lead to a maintenance cost reduction and an improvement in customer service. In addition, when you improve the efficiency of your processes and construction site monitoring, you move your company towards significant cost savings due to a reduced number of incident-related delays.
Construction is known to be one of the riskiest professions out there. But digital twinning offers an innovative way of minimizing the number of life-threatening scenarios in the sector.
This is truly revolutionary because a safe work environment is appealing for people to work in.
The virtual simulation generated with the help of this technology would be connected directly to the workflow and structure of your workplace, facilitating the prevention of life-threatening outcomes.
For example, a digital twin of newly installed scaffolding can monitor every piece of metal, measure their stress points and show which places are under extreme stress.
Safety simulations can tell you where and when the project's construction will be most risky. You can then take additional steps to reduce those safety hazards by putting up more scaffolding or changing the standards for your on-site PPE.
You can also use material simulations with digital twinning for new, untried materials. It'll be especially beneficial if these materials are more sustainable or cost-effective than the conventional ones. Imagine you can now test such new material at scale. Moreover, it can give you a better sense of how these materials will respond to the stress and strain they're expected to experience during and after construction.
The role of the digital twin continues even after the construction project is complete and handed over. This technology can be used throughout the project life cycle.
Let's take an example of a cement plant consisting of high structures - cement silos and raw mills. Now, it is essential to monitor the structural health of this plant because of the constant vibrational and cyclic loads it goes through. There is always a risk of malfunction in the structure. Such issues pose a risk of substantial financial losses. But if the sensors are installed to monitor any cracks or stresses in the live system, you can foresee the structural failure and take timely remedial measures.
Construction professionals are often compelled to limit the expression of their creativity in structural designs. If you create a new building design, it has to be approved to match the mandatory safety requirements. Besides, timelines do not permit you to get too experimental with ideas.
However, by adopting the digital twin, you can test your ideas through digital simulation involving all the necessary real-world factors like scale, gravity, weather, etc.
Digital twinning offers you access to real-time data of your construction project. It aids you in implementing comprehensive and preventative actions based on data-driven evidence.
With these business insights in hand, you can take vital business decisions, monitor critical assets, and ensure maintenance is carried out in advance to avoid essential machinery downtime. Moreover, all the stakeholders are timely notified about the project's status and participate in the collaborative decision.
Thanks to data collected from IoT, AI, and ML, digital twins can help project better their operational efficiency and improve construction quality.
Moreover, the practicality and sustainability of your new building designs will be tested in a simulation with accurate feedback.
Check out how a design and detailing company commissioned for a Hong Kong International Airport project adopted digital twin technology and improved the project's quality. The result was a better-delivered project, extreme precision in the construction, and a smaller number of tasks to complete.
All forward-thinking company leaders are aware that their decisions today will shape their future for years to come. However, with this relentless push for urgent decisions comes the temptation to bypass the basics. And, that is never a good idea.
To avoid loss of productivity and other challenges, you must follow a clear strategy for building your digital twin assets.
Here's what we recommend.
1. Focus on fixing specific business pain points and on not installing a new IT solution.
Do not follow a tech-first approach without understanding the "why." Identify what pain-point the tech would fix and then check which tech will fulfill the requirement.
2. Build a digital twin model that uses accurate data feeds.
It'll help you understand asset or process performance and adjust essential control points to deliver value.
3. Identify where precisely in your business the digital twin simulations can deliver the best value.
Identify if process improvement, cost reduction, or reduced risks will bring you maximum benefit.
4. Build a digital twin roadmap for your business.
It will lead to a digital transformation of a specific project, process, or the entire organization.
5. Implement digital twin for identified projects.
It will check how the project connects with its current state and respond to any internal or external changes—the behavior of physical systems. Digital twins are becoming strategic tools because of their ability to diagnose, control, and even predict the outcome.
The digital twin concept will soon become a key player in the growth of a construction business. Are you looking to improve the profit margins and safety levels of your construction projects?
Do you want to know more about how you can build a connected construction environment with the help of digital twins and enhance your company's operations?
We can help you decide which systems or processes are suitable candidates for your digital twin project. We at Imaginovation can support you achieve your business goals with digital twinning.