Implementation of digital twins is set to improve logistics operations by “revealing insights from the past, optimising the present, and predicting the future,” says DHL Trend Report.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a unique, virtual representation of a physical thing that monitors and simulates both the physical state and behaviour of the thing.
The digital copy is continually connected to the physical object(s) and updates itself to reflect real-world changes. Applied to products, machines and even entire business ecosystems, digital twins can reveal insights from the past, optimise the present and even predict future performance.
The rise of digital twins
The market for digital twins is expected to grow more than 38% each year, passing the $26 billion mark by 2025.
Digital twins offer unparalleled capabilities to track, monitor, and diagnose assets. They will change traditional supply chains, with a range of options to facilitate data-driven decision making and collaboration, streamlined business processes, and new business models.
Logistics applications of digital twins
In logistics, digital twins could be used in a variety of applications along the entire value chain, including the management of container fleets, monitoring of shipments or the design of logistics systems.
Internet of things (IoT) sensors on individual containers, for example, show their location and monitor for damage or contamination. This data flows into a digital twin of the container network, which uses machine learning to ensure that containers are being deployed as efficiently as possible.
Digital twins can be applied not only for individual assets but entire networks and ecosystems such as warehouses, combining a 3D model of a facility with inventory and operational data.
The system would be able to provide an overview of the state of machines and product availability and could make predictions and autonomous decisions about stock or deliveries. The same principle applies to significant logistics hubs or global logistics networks.