Digital transformation is bringing with it the creation of new concepts such as digital twins. What are they? What do they consist of? We explain here.
Digital Twin: the connection between the physical and digital worlds
Digital Twins

The emergence of new technologies is allowing new concepts to flourish, such as the digital twin, which creates digital replicas or virtual representations of systems, assets, products, processes and even people in order to improve performance, solve problems and perform simulations. In this way, digital twins allow for more accurate information to be obtained, with enormous value for optimising decision-making, and making them a fundamental pillar in the current process of digital transformation.

The concept of digital twin technology was first anticipated in the 1990s in David Gelernter's "Mirror Worlds" but the first public diffusion of it is attributed to Dr. Michael Grieves (then a professor at the University of Michigan) at the beginning of this century. In 2010, NASA's John Vickers officially included it in his technology roadmap.

Thanks to the use and/or combination of these technological vectors, digital twins can provide the following benefits:

  • Real-time information: the digital replica of an object can include real-time information from its physical counterpart through sensors or other technologies.
  • Prevention of failures: thanks to the information collected, it is possible to know how the physical object works in greater detail, allowing alerts to be issued or more detailed analyses to be carried out in order to identify risk situations.
  • Predictive capacity: the analysis of the information provided by the physical object offers a reliable overview of its state, which facilitates the creation of future behavioural models.
  • Improved performance: all of the above leads to improved performance of the replicated objects by making more informed decisions or anticipating risk situations.

Digital Twins in the electricity sector

In the electricity sector, the digital twin represents an innovative resource that offers solutions to current and future challenges: it enables smarter management of energy resources, as well as optimising the performance of infrastructures. This undoubtedly contributes to reducing maintenance times and increasing system efficiency.

In addition, thanks to this technology, industry players can plan different scenarios in a virtual world without interfering with the operation of the physical assets, thus modelling the performance of the different systems more efficiently.

Elewit is working in this direction through its innovation project DALIA, which is working to create a digital twin of overhead lines. The aim is to create an inspection model in which the processing and diagnosis of abnormalities is carried out automatically, with the help of Artificial Intelligence, and regardless of the means by which the information is obtained.

Through the digital twin, Elewit and Red Eléctrica are moving forward in the homogenisation and standardisation of the activity of diagnosing power lines and also in the reinforcement of the safety of specialist technicians, by using drones that will replace working at height.

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