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The Digital Twin in practice

3 competitive advantages of using the asset administration shell

Digital transformation is all about making data usable. However, this is easier said than done, as data usually comes from different sources, has unknown formats, and often has to be processed in large quantities. This poses a challenge, especially for industrial digitalization.

The complexity of data can be reduced with the help of the Digital Twin. But what exactly is behind this abstract-looking term? In his podcast Digital4Leaders, Jan Veira talked about this with both Dr. Birgit Boss and Dr. Mathias Bölke. Find out in this article how companies can use the Digital Twin in practice.

What is a Digital Twin?

Dr. Birgit Boss Digitaler Zwilling
Dr. Birgit Boss

The Digital Twin is THE enabler to participate in a digital ecosystem, as companies do not lose data sovereignty.

In concrete terms, the Digital Twin of a product or asset (e.g., a machine in manufacturing) is based on the Asset Administration Shell (AAS). It records and documents data over the entire life cycle of the product in a standardized data model. This not only enables cross-manufacturer data exchange and cross-production collaboration between different companies, it also offers new possibilities in process automation when it comes to designing processes efficiently, safely and in a way that saves resources.

The asset administration shell…

3 Competitive Advantages through the Digital Twin Standard

In the podcast, Dr. Mathias Bölke drew attention to three areas in which the Digital Twin can be used to advantage: asset compatibility, smart factory and sustainability:

Matthias Bölke
Dr. Matthias Bölke

In all these areas, it's about using the Digital Twin to aggregate and make available all the relevant data for an asset. This saves time and money, even in the trial-and-error phase, which results in considerable advantages for the manufacturers of the aggregates and the machine builders, as well as for the integrators.

But how can the asset administration shell be concretely used in these areas? In the following, you can find some practical examples that show how to draw competitive advantages from the Digital Twin.

1. Asset compatibility and interoperability

The asset administration shell is used to increase asset interoperability, i.e., the ability to interoperate with other assets and systems, it also makes it possible to exchange data between assets from different manufacturers. For manufacturers, suppliers, customers and factories, the standardized representation of data simplifies cooperation.

2. Smart manufacturing

The Digital Twin connects physical industrial products with the digital world. Therefore, it plays an important role in so-called smart manufacturing when it comes to process improvements and new value creation potential in industrial production.

3. Global impact und standardization

Standardization makes it possible to save not only costs and manpower, but also resources, and thus to position oneself at the forefront of sustainability. Predictive maintenance, for example, means that maintenance is only carried out when it is really necessary and defective equipment can be replaced quickly and with little engineering effort. Transparency about energy consumption can also be created using the Digital Twin standard.

Together with the IDTA (Industrial Digital Twin Association) we offer two blended learning training programs on the Digital Twin. The first training provides you with a basic understanding of the Digital Twin and the standard of the asset administration shell. In the implementation training that builds on the first training you will learn how to build and use a Digital Twin for your company and your specific use case.

The next Digital Twin Training starts soon

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