Inside Logistics

Seeing double

Meet the digital twins


August 19, 2019
by

The market for digital twin technologies is expected to grow significantly over the next five years.

A digital twin is a unique, virtual representation of a physical object that monitors and simulates both the physical state and behaviour of the object. The digital copy is continually connected to its physical counterpart(s) and updates itself to reflect real-world changes. Applied to products, machines and even entire business eco-systems, digital twins can reveal insights from the past, optimize the present and even predict future performance.

The technology is made possible through the use of Internet of things sensors and data collection, which allows for the continuous monitoring of equipment and its performance.

“The market for digital twins is expected to grow more than 38 percent each year, passing the US$26 billion mark by 2025,” explained Matthias Heutger, senior vice-president, global head of innovation and commercial development at DHL, which recently published a report Digital Twins in Logistics.

“Digital twins offer unparalleled capabilities to track, monitor, and diagnose assets. They will change traditional supply chains, with a range of options to facilitate data-driven decision-making and collaboration, streamlined business processes, and new business models.”

In the report, DHL examines challenges to implementation, such as cyber security concerns, but stresses that business cases for implementing digital twins are becoming more compelling. As related technologies get to be more dependable and affordable, businesses in a number of industries will find digital twins invaluable in managing complex systems of assets in real time and increasing efficiency in their processes. The report concludes by considering the investments and changes necessary for the successful implementation of digital twins in logistics.