Digital Twin and Augmented Reality – Powerful Combination for Maintenance and Service Operation


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The concepts of digital twin and augment reality (AR) are not new. Combining both can have profound impact for application in maintenance and service operation of physical systems. In this post, we will dive in the concept, functionality and process of a system combining digital twin and AR for this application.

Digital twin refers to the digital replica of physical assets that exist with the same data and characteristics as the physical twin. Combining 3D modeling, animation and data transmitting, a digital twin of a system can essentially demonstrate the visual look and status/data of the physical system that the digital twin is representing.


The digital twin concept sits at the center of digitalization. It links models and data related to a product’s production and operational performance, and provides them to engineers, operators and service technicians across vertical domains.


To design and develop digital twins, conventional technologies such as 3D modeling, animation and data transmitting are used. However, the way humans interact with digital (i.e. the deliver platform to show digital twin) could be different. Using desktop computers as the interfaces could have the advantage of higher computing power. On the other side, the advantage of using mobile devices and AR to deliver digital twin systems is the more mobile, direct, interactive and close-to-reality immersive 3D visualization.


Applying in the service and maintenance operation for physical equipment, the combination of AR and digital twin can be a powerful solution to help many challenges, including workforce knowledge gaps, remote team communication efficiency, and diagnose and repair speed. The way to address challenges include several well thought out and executed steps in this process.


- Building Database of digital twin models with data and information:


First step involves constructing a database of digital twin 3D models. Mission critical information and data needed to be collected before generating 3D models. Model will then be constructed and designed to be interactive for viewing of components, critical functionality of each component, inter-dependency, standard information/data associated to the system.


- Displaying of AR digital twin model and information:


Second step is to design the interactivity interface so that human and digital twin interaction is intuitive and easy to use on mobile platforms. 3D digital twin models can be viewed and displayed using AR enabled mobile devices. The database that host 3D digital twin models will need to be easily accessible in a connected network environment, with built-in functionality to search and access various systems and models.


- Remote collaboration process:


For either the experts providing technical assistance remotely, or the onsite operators in remote sites, the software platform can be accessed the same easy way on mobile devices. Both teams can access the same information and data at the same time. Therefor they can perform diagnosis and repair more quickly, which makes the remote technical assistance process easier and communication more efficient.


Necessary criteria to test the efficiency and performance of the system with digital twin and AR technologies include:


- Efficiency of deploying platform on mobile devices

- Rendering speed and quality of the 3D digital twin model

- Ease of obtaining critical data and information

- Running speed on mobile devices

- Efficiency to aid maintenance and service operations


To discuss how AR and digital twin can help your organization’s maintenance operation applications, or to experience a real demo yourself, please contact info@distat.co.

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