I recently met with a client from a large CPG company who said his challenges are rooted in the fact that every industrial automation system comprises two descriptions of the truth, a physical one and a logical one. And because of the development process, these two truths are rarely aligned.
The physical truth is the CAD model of the system or machine, and the logical truth is the control system. Their misalignment comes to a head at the commissioning phase of the project, when they are brought together for the first time. And the result is often a system that operates below expectations in some way, or that requires costly modification to meet the spec.
The two truths don’t need to be misaligned by much for the system to under-perform, but the costs associated with changes and delays at the commissioning stage can have a catastrophic effect on the profitability of the system, and put into question further automation decisions.
A digital twin can bring the two truths together early in the design process, before metal is cut and concrete poured, so the combined operation of the mechanical and the logical systems can be observed, tested, debugged, and verified safely and accurately. As a bonus, there's less conflict between the teams responsible for each truth at this early stage as changes are easier to implement.