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Beyond 3D models: How digital twins differ from 3D models with real-time data

In the heart of Industry 4.0, digital twins have emerged as the anchor connecting the physical and digital worlds. A digital twin is not just a static three-dimensional representation of an object; it's a living, breathing virtual counterpart of a real-world entity. In contrast, traditional 3D models offer visual insights but lack the vitality that real-time data brings to the table. Real-time data, in essence, is the lifeblood that empowers digital twins to accurately mirror, predict, and optimise real-world behaviour.

3D models vs. digital twins

While 3D models have played a significant role in visualising and designing objects, they are intrinsically static in nature. These models provide a snapshot, freezing a moment in time and limiting their application in real-time scenarios.

On the other hand, digital twins encapsulate not only the physical attributes but also the dynamic behaviours of the entity they represent. Comprising real-time data feeds, digital twins evolve as their real-world counterparts do, enabling accurate simulations and predictive insights.

Imagine a large distribution centre handling goods for multiple retail locations. By creating a digital twin of the centre and integrating real-time data from a solution such as DexoryView and inventory systems, companies have a full set of data for occupancy tracking, full stock checks, rack analysis and pick face counts. Using historical data and real-time inputs, the digital twin can anticipate inventory needs and staffing requirements as well.

Real-time data integration from digital twins

By integrating constant updates from sensors, IoT devices, and other sources, digital twins remain in sync with their real-world counterparts. This influx of real-time data isn't just about staying current; it opens doors to predictive and prescriptive insights. Industries can preemptively identify issues, optimise processes, and make informed decisions, all based on the dynamic data flow from their digital twins.

Beyond visualisation: Practical applications

The applications of digital twins extend far beyond visual appeal. In warehousing and logistics, for instance, digital twins revolutionise asset management. By creating a virtual mirror of a warehouse, businesses can monitor inventory levels, optimise storage layouts, and predict maintenance needs.

The advantages extend across sectors — from our experience, the robots and data visualisation platform worked together to help Maersk measure, track and locate goods across every logistics step, from inbound to storage, picking to outbound, WMS (warehouse management system) stock records. DexoryView reconciles inconsistencies and closes that data loop.

Synergy of real-time data and digital twins

Real-time data isn't just a supplement to digital twins, it's an integral component that amplifies its capabilities.

Another example could be the transformative impact of real-time insights at Huboo. It is essential for Huboo to always look for ways to make life easier and better for their colleagues. Working with Dexory, the shared vision for the use of technology and the data collected to drive better business decisions, is about making life easier for humans rather than replacing them from operations.

Dexory introduced autonomous robots to scan the entire warehouse, building a digital twin for real time data analysis and insight on storage of goods, which feeds into Huboo’s optimisation programme. This data capture is critical to their efficiency and growth.

Final word: The potential of digital twins

In the journey from 3D models to digital twins, the infusion of real-time data has catalysed a revolution. Digital twins create replicas of real-world entities propelled by a continuous influx of dynamic information. This distinction between static models and dynamic twins underscores the significance of real-time data in shaping their future. As technology marches forward, the combination of real-time data and digital twins will continue to reshape industries, paving the way for unprecedented efficiency, innovation, and progress.

Read more about digital twins in our guide.

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This company has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 849938