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Digital twins in the asset lifecycle: are we there yet?

  • Whitmore, David
  • Krystallis, Ilias
  • Papadonikolaki, Eleni
  • Ford, Jordan
  • Cleaver, Matt
  • Alexander, David
Publication Date
Feb 17, 2024
UCL Discovery
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An academic-industry team present the results of research conducted into the current benefits being derived from the use of digital twins across the entire life cycle of an asset. We reviewed the benefits being derived by the asset management community as this is where through life productivity and effectiveness benefits will be realised. We conducted a review of relevant literature, surveyed 122 practitioners and worked with our industry partner and the UK professional body to validate our conclusions. Specifically, (1) We examined the current application of digital twins in three industry sectors: Process industries; Infrastructure (Civil Engineering); and Manufacturing. (2) We grouped our data according to role types, i.e., professionals working predominantly in the design and build, and professionals in the operation and maintenance part of the lifecycle. As regards the sector results, we found the responses contradictory. When we control by role type, the results are more cohesive. Individuals involved in the operation and maintenance stages consistently indicated that digital twins are not delivering to their promise. We present a series of problem statements to define the current state, together with some managerial recommendations and we propose further work to establish detailed guidance for infrastructure sector projects.

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