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Digital Twin Technology an Emerging Trend in Logistics Sector

For two years in a row, Gartner has pinpointed the digital twin as one of the ‘top strategic trends in technology’. It also says, that only 13 percent of IoT organizations have adopted digital twin technology and 62% are planning or in the process to do so. Gartner also reported that 2 out of 3 organisations would deploy at least one digital twin to optimize some aspects of their business process.

What is Digital Twin?

Digital twin is a replica of a virtual platform, a bridge between physical assets to digital models by using sensors to gather real-time data from vehicles, aircraft engines, buildings, etc. The gathered data can then be tested, analysed, and optimized without its physical presence in the real world avoiding adverse impacts.

Digital twin technology is one of the most intriguing technologies that has created new opportunities for disruption in the technology space. It has already been adopted in automotive, energy, and aerospace. Digital twin is helping them in designing their assets, visualize them, monitor, and maintain their performance. Which in turn provides a new horizon for upgrading their technology with the help of insights from the data.

Digital Twin for Logistics

Applying digital twin in logistics will help you bring deeper insights into the planning, designing, operations, and optimization of the supply chain network individually or globally. Let us see in what ways digital twin is revolutionizing logistics sector.

Performance Testing of Packaging Material

The growth of e-commerce market gave a significant rise to packaging industry. The demand goes up for seasonal packaging and single packaging of goods and its biggest culprit is the food industry. As it produces significant amount of waste damaging the environment and reduces the operational efficiency through poor utilization of materials.

Digital twin help you to conceptualize the material used in the packaging of different type of goods and it will help in predicting the performance of new material in packaging applications. It will monitor its behaviour under different scenarios like vibrations, shocks, loading and unloading the packages and different temperature. This material digital twin concept will help you in developing a stronger, lighter and environmental friendly material. This will also help in monitoring the damages to the packaging and highlight the flaws in the packaging that will help us in redeveloping the packaging of the goods.

A use case where IKEA has replaced its styrofoam packaging to biodegradable mushroom-based material, as it will be easier for decomposition than their pervious used material. As styrofoam takes decades to decompose, with the help of material digital twin, they can analyse the material types, its decomposition rate, and the cost of making the packaging which can be then implemented.

Digital Twin for Protecting Shipments

Lately, the suppliers and the end customers have reported a lot of damage to the goods. Damages caused during loading and unloading of shipments, due to different climatic conditions, re-using of containers, or using wrong material for packaging. As a result, businesses face huge losses, to overcome these losses these companies are implementing digital twin technology to improve their delivery process.

With the help of digital twin, companies can find out how various packaging methods impact the product or it can also predict even its first delivery goes out as in if the material used for packaging is appropriate for various climatic conditions, or it is going to sustain for multiple days. As a result, it will help suppliers to mitigate the damage to the products through its best-described packaging method.

Microsoft digital twin can add more value to the data collected by the sensors during the time of an actual delivery and this will result in identifying potential weakness from initial stage to the actual delivery of the package.

Digital Twin for Designing a Logistics Warehouse

Digital twin plays a significant role in designing, operating and utilizing a complete logistics infrastructure. With the help of data collected from IoT sensors in the warehouse, a 3D model can be created with digital twin technology including the inventory operational data with size quantity and characteristics of every item.

It can also support the design and layout of new facilities, allowing the companies optimize space, simulate the movements of the materials, workers, and equipment’s. It can predict the impact of the layout change before implementing the actual changes.

Creating Digital Twins of Shipping Containers

Containers travel around the world through different climatic conditions from ships to trucks to its actual delivery location. During this process, containers may face damages like cracks, dents etc. and ultimately it can also damage the goods. To avoid such situations, IoT sensors can be installed to collect the data and digital twin to create and predict the characteristics of the container.

Building this digital twin technology for containers creates new possibilities for operating their assets. The condition of the shipping container can be analysed with 3D photographic technology that allows us to detect the damage to containers. In addition, the historic data collected from the IoT sensors from the containers can be utilize to create a digital twin for making crucial decision like when the containers can be changed, repaired or turn to scrap.

So combining all the data from these containers a supplier or the owner can make a data-driven decision about his fleet of containers whether it is good to go or it is damaged.

eInfochips has considerable experience in building connected solutions for logistics operations using Azure services like Azure Sphere, Azure IoT Hub & Azure Digital Twin. For more information on our digital twin services please connect us today.

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