The Digital Twin Is in Even When You’re Not

The Digital Twin Is in Even When You’re Not

By | October 26, 2020

Operational Risk Management technology has moved beyond traditional compliance methods to an Integrated Risk Management 4.0 approach.

One of the key developments is Digital Twin technology that offers a virtual view of a plant so you can see the status without having to be there.

In the current remote-working situation that many of us are dealing with from the COVID-19 pandemic, this can be a valuable tool for assessing the operations, whether it’s a live view or a snapshot.

Say, for example, there’s “a refi nery in Texas, and they’ve got another refinery in Illinois with the same scale and operating parameters,” said Abhilash Menon, a Sphera business consultant focused on Operational Excellence and Digital Transformation. “Having that Digital Twin shows them, OK, one of them is performing at a higher risk level than the other, and they can start questioning that without having to actually go down to the asset but just looking at those Digital Twins and how they are performing.”

Remotely, the user could see the critical job safety activities, such as whether a valve sensor isn’t functioning properly or what immediate and essential corrective actions need to be taken.

Especially at a time when social distancing is not only encouraged but likely mandatory, it helps to keep as many people away from the plant as possible, including contractors, etc., via Digital Twin. While it’s not possible to keep everyone away from the plant, executives could still be able to gain much of the same information remotely that they would in the actual plant through Digital Twin, Menon added.

The other area that Digital Twin could help in the future is through emergency response capabilities that he expects will be available.

He gave the example of an asset manager on holiday. Even though the manager is away from the building, a Digital Twin could automatically send a message to the phone if there’s an emergency.

“I’m sitting in Hawaii, my asset is in Texas,” he said. “As soon as an emergency happens, I would get the intimation on my phone. I could take a look at what’s happening at my assets, see where people are at, and an emergency plan could be initiated based on all the information from the Digital Twin, and I could support my team with timely information.”


James Tehrani is Spark’s editor-in-chief. He is an award-winning writer based in the Chicago area.

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