Learn how virtual twin technology tackles siloed working, enabling better collaboration, control of the value chain, contractual coherence and data-driven decision-making.
Virtual Twin technology is designed to help industries cope with increased operational and regulatory challenges, favouring a systemic, circular and modular approach that is lifecycle-focused and asset-driven.
In this era, it is essential that your design processes, manufacturing systems, and construction practices are optimized to ensure you are delivering the highest quality with the smallest possible margins. This is where Virtual Twin technology can help.
What is Virtual Twin Technology?
Virtual twins are real-time, virtual representations of a product, platform or even an ecosystem as complex as a city. Our 3DEXPERIENCE platform is one way to create virtual twins, used to invent, model, and test disruptive innovations. By eliminating the need for physical prototypes, they reduce time to market and by enabling collaboration and rapid design iteration in the virtual world, they reduce the risk associated with complex projects and improve regulatory compliance.
Virtual twins provide safe testing environments for radically disruptive green and circular innovation. By modelling entire value chains, virtual twins can improve the sustainability of products and services across the lifecycle, cradle to cradle: from designing for reuse to minimizing material use during manufacturing to estimating carbon emissions to modelling reverse logistics for circular economy systems.
With virtual twin technology, you can simulate different scenarios to enhance even the smallest details of field execution. You can also use the technology to address major skill shortages and simplify and streamline collaboration between teams on a single digital platform.
With a prime focus on waste reduction and energy efficiency, virtual twins ensure compliance with extensive sustainability regulation, more continuity throughout each construction phase and scaled-up sustainable innovation at every step.
The Shift in Construction Practices
Digitalized and integrated aerospace and automotive industries are inspiring a reset in the construction industry, with a new focus on circular design and bio-material sourcing, capital efficiency, resilience, and risk management.
While these industries differ in their approach, today’s project-based construction process is set to shift radically to a more standardized, efficient, and integrated product-based approach. This will improve customer satisfaction and offset the costs of conforming to evolving climate regulations.
How is Virtual Twin technology supporting the Digital Construction revolution?
The rise of Modularization and Standardization
Technological breakthroughs pave the way for the construction industry’s renaissance. So far, deep implementation of industrialization practices has been slow because of project variability, managed by a heterogeneous ecosystem that includes planners, designers, material suppliers and builders. Modularity integrates high variability into offers without standardizing the living experience.
We are seeing a real shift toward off-site productization. Though modularization, prefabrication and off-site manufacturing in safe and controlled environments are not new, the combination of lighter-weight materials that simplify traceability, material transportation, digital planning and automated production systems could foster new levels of quality and efficiency in products and operations.
Instead of building uniquely designed structures on-site, companies will manufacture components and whole buildings off-site as transportable pieces. This approach improves quality as much as the work is completed in factory conditions, resulting in faster and more efficient approval processes.
Energy optimization is another key objective today. By integrating this early into the design process using virtual twins, energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30 to 80 per cent, providing a real market advantage. And some of these energy solutions can be retrofitted to existing buildings which is key as many older buildings, for example, were not designed for energy efficiency.
Overall, the virtual twin tackles siloed working, enabling better collaboration, control of the value chain, contractual coherence and data-driven decision-making.
Driving Circular Design
The virtual twin can facilitate circular design relating to product reuse, recycling and cascading. Key areas to make circular design economically viable include material selection and procurement, standardized components, and design for easy end-of-life sorting, such as Cradle to Cradle certified building materials. The idea behind ‘Cradle to Cradle’ or a circular economy is that items and resources are reused at a point where they would normally be discarded, therefore ensuring that sustainable practices are at the forefront of business minds.
Meeting Net Carbon Goals
Virtual twins are today’s levers of sustainable competitiveness for construction companies to connect societal and regulatory demands with internal efficiency gains and growth opportunities, paving the way for a more sustainable and human-centric future, and allowing you to optimise your design processes, manufacturing systems and construction practices. In addition, virtual twin technology allows users to simulate the impacts of recyclable materials on CO2 emissions and energy consumption, fostering the transition from concrete to wood or other recyclable materials for existing and new buildings.
With the shift to productization and moving the bulk of construction off-site into controlled environments in factories and warehouses, the industry has the opportunity to address skill shortages, optimize procurement, traceability and costs and upscale the efficiency of energy, waste and CO2 emissions management. Virtual twins offer the construction ecosystem a unique opportunity to reset, reshape and improve their future by leveraging real-time planning simulation tools that drive data-driven decisions.
To find out more about virtual twin technology and how it can help you to optimize your designs, manufacturing practices, and construction capabilities get in touch today.
In this short interview, our Business Transformation Technical Director, Adam Bannaghan, talks us through all things Digital Thread and Digital Twin
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