Digital Twins

Robins ... data is overwhelming.

Robins ... data is overwhelming.

Enhancing decision-making through better data

August 2020

Digital twins bring benefits across a project’s and asset’s lifecycle and for use cases at different scales, ranging from individual assets and buildings to networks and campuses, cities, and regions to national digital twins and international property portfolios, says Bentley Systems, a global provider of comprehensive software and digital twins services for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure.

Digital twins are used for many different purposes – such as visualising, simulating and monitoring. Asset owners are looking to digital twins to help increase maintenance planning effectiveness, minimise site visits and reduce health and safety risks associated with traditional inspection methods.

Some of the most interesting applications for digital twins are in the oil and gas, the process industries, and water and power utilities, says Brian Robins, Vice President, Product and Industry Marketing, Bentley Systems.

Citing an example, he says: “One power plant recently reported a reduction of 10 per cent in maintenance activities, a potential 25 per cent drop in forced outages and a potential 10 per cent increase in availability,” he says.

In addition, digital twins have broad application in advanced design environments, in which a fully functioning digital twin model is developed, allowing for different design choices to be analysed right up to the construction phase.

“One engineering firm was able to deliver a significant project that was benchmarked at 33 months in just 18 months. The value of digital delivery is proven – higher efficiency, lower rework, and shorter schedules,” he says. 

So what challenges does industry face in making best use of digital twin technology?

Robins explains: “With the Industrial Internet of Things, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies are generating exponentially more and more data. However, 99 per cent of that data is ‘dark’.  It is unstructured or in an inaccessible or incompatible format and therefore unusable. ‘Lighting up’ and making use of that dark data leads to better decisions, ultimately resulting in better asset outcomes.  

“The volume of data that is available to decision-makers today is simply overwhelming. Much of the data that is collected is of questionable quality. It is typically in incompatible formats, which make it difficult to consume. Many organisations are data rich and insight poor.”

Robins says this is where Bentley Systems provides a range of solutions to enable asset owners and decision-makers make best use of their data.

Bentley excels at the aggregation and alignment of engineering data, he says. 

Bentley Systems provides PlantSight, a commercial off-the-shelf digital twin template that it co-developed with Siemens. The digital twin for process industries brings together plant data and operating information, contextualises it, validates it, and visualises it in a single “pane of glass”.

“PlantSight transforms raw data into a living and evergreen digital twin that is accessible from anywhere 24/7 using a standard web browser. Bentley Systems also provides digital twin workflows called iTwin Design Review and iTwin Design Validation, which support engineering design coordination and collaboration for engineering, procurement, and construction firms that are developing digital twins.

In addition, the company provides digital twin-enabling technologies for visualising, simulating, and monitoring assets in the built and natural environments. These applications include ContextCapture for reality modelling, Synchro for 4D construction modelling, Legion for pedestrian simulation, Cube and Streetlytics for vehicle simulation, OpenFlows Flood for flooding simulation, and AssetWise Digital Twin Services for immersive digital operations.   

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