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Digital Twins for Sustainable Manufacturing

The new eBook “Digital Twins:Evolution in Manufacturing” is now available for download. Image credit: Julie Bernicker, IEEE

The Digital Reality Initiative is presenting a  IEEE Future Tech Forum Roundtable on Sustainable Manufacturing moderated by Craig Bauhaus, Industry executive in Manufacturing at Microsoft. It will be held as a Virtual Event on Tuesday June 28th, at 12 noon New York time, 6pm Central European Time. You can register to this free event here. Once registered you will also to be able to listen to the recording, but of course, joining live will let you ask questions and voice your comments on the topic.

I would say perfectly on time, my new eBook collecting posts I wrote in these last few months on the evolution of Digital Twins in Manufacturing is now available for download here. The eBook expands on those posts and revises them to provide the latest state of the art (unfortunately, the evolution is so quick that it will not remain up to date for long, so it is better if you read it now…).

Indeed, Digital Twins can play, and are playing a role in manufacturing sustainability. As an example:

  • using digital twins in the design phase helps in reducing hard prototyping (and connected waste of material and power);
  • using digital twins to mirror the workshop floor and equipment helps in redisigning and fine tuning the factory, again reducing waste through re-use of existing equipment (and of course it saves a lot of money);
  • using digital twin instances associated to a product support the shift of functions (features) to the cyberspace, decreasing the need for material components and taking advantage of the flexibility offered by bits (saves in power);
  • changing features through the digital twins means extending the life cycle of the product, thus again decreasing waste through what I would call a virtual recycling.

It should be noted that “sustainability” also requires economic sustainability. There are cost related to the implementation and running of sustainable manufacturing and the digital transformation, by improving efficiency, will pass on to the end customer part of the cost reduction derived from the increased efficiency. This creates a big issue in economic sustainability: increasing production cost and decreasing revenues. Digital Twins and the opportunity they create to flank a service offer to the product can open up new revenue streams for manufacturers but at the same time this will require new business model and a new manufacturing/sales organisation.

There is a lot of significant work going on in the area of manufacturing sustainability, with the EIT Manufacturing being a leading player.  You may want to check on their website te activities on sustainable manufacturing.

I look forward to listening to the Roundtable, featuring as panelists:

  • Dejan Milojicic, Distinguished Technologist and Director at Hewlett Packard Labs
  • Peggy Smedley, Author, Editorial Director of Connected World and Constructech, host, The Peggy Smedley Show, and president of Specialty Publishing Media
  • John P. Verboncoeur, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies College of Engineering, Michigan State University

I am sure you will enjoy it too. Get ready to fire your questions and share your thoughts on this very hot area!

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.