DOI: 10.3390/asi6060114 ISSN: 2571-5577

Reshaping the Digital Twin Construct with Levels of Digital Twinning (LoDT)

João Vieira, João Poças Martins, Nuno Marques de Almeida, Hugo Patrício, João Morgado
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems
  • Control and Systems Engineering

While digital twins (DTs) have achieved significant visibility, they continue to face a problem of lack of harmonisation regarding their interpretation and definition. This diverse and interchangeable use of terms makes it challenging for scientific activities to take place and for organisations to grasp the existing opportunities and how can these benefit their businesses. This article aims to shift the focus away from debating a definition for a DT. Instead, it proposes a conceptual approach to the digital twinning of engineering physical assets as an ongoing process with variable complexity and evolutionary capacity over time. To accomplish this, the article presents a functional architecture of digital twinning, grounded in the foundational elements of the DT, to reflect the various forms and levels of digital twinning (LoDT) of physical assets throughout their life cycles. Furthermore, this work presents UNI-TWIN—a unified model to assist organisations in assessing the LoDT of their assets and to support investment planning decisions. Three case studies from the road and rail sector validate its applicability. UNI-TWIN helps to redirect the discussion around DTs and emphasise the opportunities and challenges presented by the diverse realities of digital twinning, namely in the context of engineering asset management.

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