Digital Twins Technology in Logistics 2020: In-Depth Guide
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Digital twin technology is considered as one of the most prominent trends in logistics this year. With the evolving technology, the logistics industry has already welcomed several advancements, but the digital twin technology applications make it more enticing. The main reason behind the importance of digital twins applications is that they are very effective in monitoring and maintain the assets of a particular company and thus help to generate new value.
Overall they support you in creating different business opportunities. When it comes to the logistics industry, they are going to make changes in the regular supply chains. According to a recent survey, digital twins are expected to grow at a rate of 37%-38% annually, which will surpass the mark of $26 billion till 2025.
In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits of digital twins in the logistic industry. But before that, we will start with the basic idea of a digital twin.
Table of Contents
What is a Digital Twin?
It is hard to find a one-liner digital twin definition, so you should try to comprehend the basic concepts in the first place. Nowadays, computer modeling in a traditional way is losing its impacts. In such cases, parts and machines are replaced, or the structure requires modification to get used to with the changes, but now this scenario is changed. It happens because of the advanced digital twin conceptual architecture. It has brought a drastic change where you can easily attach the inaccessible parts of the computer to the digital world. It means you will get a digital model of any physical objects, and you are allowed to engage with them without any issues. As a result, if you make any changes in the physical object, the digital model will also indicate the same changes. Though this concept of digital twins first came into sight in 2002, you will find many companies using digital twins at present, especially in the field of logistics.
Use of Digital Twins
The concept of digital twins was introduced at the starting of the 21st century. Previously, it was the mirroring technology used by NASA, and now it has turned into the concept of the digital twin. Besides machine learning, you will also find digital twin IoT, digital twin and AI, which have unlocked new opportunities for the business. Now, digital twin product development has reached a new level with the help of different technological advancements. Therefore, you can find the digital twin implementation example in several industries. Ensuring all the advantages like rapid collaboration, transparency of communication with customers has made it ideal for management purposes. So most companies are likely to incorporate digital twin applications for management and product development effectively. It is how digital twin companies are leaning towards the logistics industry that covers a wide variety of use. Here we will focus on the benefits of digital twins in the field of logistics.
Digital Twins Examples Used in the Logistics Industry
Digital twins are yet to be used in logistics with their full potential, but they are snowballing. A wide variety of applications of this technology will be found in the logistics industry in the upcoming years. In logistics, sensors are used to track not only shipments but also machinery and other necessary equipment. This industry is also likely to take help from API strategies and showing interest in cloud-based IT systems.
There are some digital twin technology companies that are keen to apply advanced machine learning and analytics to create a difference in their traditional supply chains. Moreover, using virtual reality applications is creating better opportunities for digital twins that will help in different tasks such as warehouse picking or vehicle loading. Though it seems a little bit challenging to include digital twins into logistics activities, many companies have already chosen this technology to develop their business. Below are some major applications of digital twins technology in logistics—
Digital twins and packaging
A large number of products are transported through logistic networks, where several reusable containers are used for different purposes. You will find both specific and general-purpose containers. However, it is not an easy task to design, manage, and monitor all these containers. Besides, in order to balance with the growing e-commerce demands, the industry requires a different variety of packaging. By applying material digital twins, they can create environment-friendly packaging materials that will be stronger as well as lighter.
It will also reduce the production of wastages significantly. With a view to that, most of the companies are trying to use new materials like compostable plastics that are recyclable. Digital twins are also very effective in maintaining containers fleet. Also, it is helpful to keep track of the reusable containers and detect the issues in a container, including its design, maintenance, etc.
Digital twins and shipments
It is also another vital aspect of digital twins in logistic activities. When the digital twin of a regular object is created, you can obtain data regarding its geometry from the existing source. On the other hand, you can generate the item data with the help of 3D scanning and computer vision techniques.
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It supports the company to work more efficiently. Container packaging methods play an essential role in the protection of the products and optimize uses. Valuable products like pharmaceuticals or electronic components are shipped with sensors to check the temperature, shock, vibration, etc. Digital twins used in these shipments will help in data transmission and can collect data for future use.
Digital twins and warehouse
Digital twins are also equally crucial for logistic infrastructure that includes warehouses, distribution centers, etc. Azure digital twin technology is used to collect both IoT data and operational data of the connected warehouses that show the shows size, location, quantity, demand, etc. Digital twins of the warehouse have different benefits that come up with new opportunities and help the logistics company to boost up their shipment and maintenance of the product in an effective way. However, it is not impossible to update the data during the operation. There are different techniques, such as drone-based stock counting, automated vehicle guide, automated storage, and more. With digital twins, all these automation systems can be optimized further. Some warehouses also use 3d data to increase the efficiency of the warehouse workers. Virtual-reality training tools can be used. It will help to cope with the rapid changes occurring in the world of e-commerce.
Digital twins and logistic infrastructure
Warehouses and distribution centers are a major part of the logistic infrastructure, but they are not all. There are several other elements related to this infrastructure including trucks, ships, aircraft, and information facilities. Moreover, you can not ignore people as a part of the logistics infrastructure. It is very common to know that the offline process is not error-free and it takes a lot of time. In order to get rid of these problems, digital twin technologies are being used in a project running in Singapore. The main target is to create a digital twin technology to help in container shipping. Industry 4.0 digital twin is extremely important along with IoT and Artificial Intelligence to generate new value. It is also expected that the digital twin concept will benefit the management so Singapore is looking forward to using it on a large scale in the near future.
Digital twins and global logistic networks
It is also vital to have an encompassing idea of digital twins in logistic networks, which means, besides the logistics assets, the digital twin model will include highways, streets, railway lines, oceans, customers’ home, and their workplaces as well. The future of digital twin is covered in this model. In some years, there will be cars having autonomous capabilities that will be able to transform geographical data. They will definitely need a detailed map. In addition, they will be able to create their own maps by collecting data from different resources, including onboard cameras, radio, ranging system, etc. Also, they can share data to update the map database. Geographic Information System is more helpful than digital maps because they are able to include the traffic speeds, road closures, parking restrictions, and several other necessary information. Furthermore, they can incorporate the real-time location of a specific car or people. Digital twins can work effectively to optimize logistics networks.
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Now that you have come to know how digital twins can impact on the logistics industry, it will be worthwhile to consider this technology to create new business ideas. It is time to contact companies using digital twins and get your logistics brand name a distinguishing USP.
Digital twins indicate the digital model of a physical object. Sensors are used to collect data that can create a virtual-reality experience, and they come with new business opportunities to increase their efficiency and productivity.
For the basic level, accessible computer power is required to generate data, and a CAD model, product life cycle management data, etc. will serve the purpose. When it comes to complex digital twins, IIoT platforms, AI-augmented reality, and more are needed.
Digital twins are used for industrial purposes, including engineering, manufacturing, and operations and maintenance and service. However, with evolving technologies, they have high potential to be used in the field of the logistics industry in future days.