The digital twin – a new step in the digital transformation of the construction industry

Digital transformation continues to advance in the construction industry with the incorporation of Industry 4.0 technologies.  Robotisation, 3D printing  and new materials are just some of the trends that are here to stay. However, the use of digital twins arguably provides the the greatest possibilities for the industrialised construction sector.

A digital twin – a virtual replica of a particular product or process, simulating the behavior of its physical counterpart – allows for safe experimentation, monitoring and reactions analysis in order to improve performance. This is highly beneficial for manufacturing processes and a represents a decisive advance in industrialised  construction. In a few years, half of industrial companies are expected to be using digital twins, which will help them to become 10% more efficient.

The use of digital twins also facilitates the integration of Big Data, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence and thus obtain immediate feedback on activities, making it possible to apply possible corrections in record time.

In the building industry, there are already initiatives like Kubik, the first European building with a digital twin, which serves as a test bed. More than 3,000 sensors installed over its 3 floors collect detailed information about the building and transmit it in real time to its digital twin, thus evaluating the behaviour of the product in a real-world environment before marketing it.

The next step will be to create digital twins for environments where construction takes place – the buildings that house factories and warehouses.

Some initiatives make use of drones that move around a building and accurately scan every part of it, in order to transmit this information to the software generating the replica.

This new step will undoubtedly be decisive for industrialised construction, as it will enable complete automation in the process of generating factory models, into which digital twins of machinery and manufacturing processes can then be integrated.