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Types of Digital Twins

Stanford University_080921C
[Stanford University]

- Overview

A digital twin is a digital model of a real-world physical product, system, or process. It serves as a digital counterpart that can be used for simulation, integration, testing, monitoring, and maintenance.  

Digital twins can help organizations simulate real situations and their outcomes, which can help them make better decisions. They can be used to support tasks such as estimating the state of a system and exploring the consequences of interventional activities. 

Digital twins can be used to represent a variety of things, including: Buildings, HVAC systems, Bridges, Transit systems. 

Connected sensors monitor the physical asset, collect data, and map it directly onto the virtual model. 

Some types of digital twins include:

  • Component twin
  • Product digital twin
  • Asset digital twin
  • System twin
  • Process digital twin

- Types of Digital Twins

A digital twin can be defined as a virtual replica of the product. It starts as a 3D model that is exactly the same as the physical version of the product.

There are several different types of digital twins, and they can often run in parallel on the same system. While some digital twins only replicate a single part of an object, they are all critical in providing a virtual representation. 

The most common types of digital twins are as follows.


- Component Twins

A component twin or part twin is a digital representation of a single part of an overall system. These are an essential part of the operation of assets such as the electric motors inside a wind turbine.


- Asset Twins

In digital twin terms, assets are two or more components that work together as part of a more comprehensive system. Asset twins actually represent how components interact and generate performance data that you can analyze to make informed decisions.


- System Twins

A higher level of abstraction for an asset twin is a system twin or unit twin. A system twin shows how different assets work together as part of a wider system. The visibility provided by system twin technology enables you to make decisions about performance enhancements or efficiencies.


- Process Twins

Process twins show you the digital environment of an entire object and gain insight into how its individual components, assets, and units work together. For example, a digital process twin can digitally reproduce how an entire manufacturing facility operates, bringing all of its components together.


- Geospatial Twins

A geospatial digital twin is a virtual representation of reality that includes physical objects, processes, and relationships. It's built on a foundation of geography. 



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