Home / Blog / DT evolution in Manufacturing – X

DT evolution in Manufacturing – X

Building operation and maintenance benefit from the existence of an associated Digital Twin. In this figure three screenshots of a worker’s smartphone with an app that use the digital twin to explore data associated to the building. In the first two screenshots AR is used to highlight temperature of different parts of the building. This helps in evaluating the level of insulation provided by the materials used. It can also show the presence of cracks in the structure (at the crack level there is a clear temperature gradient). Image credit: ARUP

The Construction Industry has been working with digital models for quite a while, based on BIM -Building Information Modelling. In the last years more and more sensors -IoT- have been inserted in building at construction time (and in a several cases IoT have started to be retro-fitted in existing buildings. These sensors are generating streams of data that enables the constructor to create a shadow and a thread, i.e. the three components of a Digital Twins.

The development of software to manage these DTs and to leverage them providing operation and maintenance services has been an obvious next step.

ARUP, one of the largest construction companies operating worldwide in over 150 countries is using Digital Twin technology through the construction phase and thereafter monitors the buildings operation. Over time a historical record grows and those data can provide hints on degrade of certain parts of the building that needs to be fixed before any damage occurs. Proactive maintenance is cheaper (it can be scheduled) than repairing damage (reactive maintenance). Also, the digital twin may interact with components in the building infrastructure to tweak operation and decrease risk of damage (like decreasing pressure in pipes…). DTs operate at stage 3 in most buildings monitored and controlled by ARUP.    

Interestingly, the DT can also be used to assist in maintenance work providing the digital information on the building. Use of AR let the maintenance crew to inspect, virtually, the building infrastructures, like the pipes inside walls and ducts.

In addition, the data received from sensors are compared with data received from similar buildings. The data analyses takes into account the variety of situations (a building in Houston will be exposed to a different climate than one in Seattle) to derive meaningful comparison. This distributed knowledge (on single buildings) generates an emerging knowledge that helps in the operation of buildings (proactive maintenance) and in fine tuning the design of future buildings (what material demonstrated to for best in the field in a given climate…).

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.