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DIGITAL TWINS: GOING BEYOND THE 3-D MODEL

Updated: Mar 20

The use of a digital twin provides convenience (for users) and enables them to collect, process, monitor, manage and share information about particular assets. The use of digital twins allows for a holistic overview of both surface and underground infrastructures, and those using it can then be able to create “what if” analyses and perform right-time monitoring. One industry in particular that makes use of digital twin is the mining industry: Management uses it to handle a vast number of elements/ features over a specified period of time to assess any changes, and how they might affect processes. Part and parcel of mining operations, even though unplanned, are on site accidents. A digital twin can be utilised to reconstruct the accident in order to assist with its investigation- and this is exactly what we did for Advanced Aerial, a Nafasi client.


WHAT IS A DIGITAL TWIN?

Traditionally, most operations are highly linear, and they happen under labour and time- intensive processes. All aspects must be considered before operations, or a project, can take shape in the physical world. And of course, it is vital that the communication remains consistent between all parties involved in making sure that these operations/ projects run smoothly. A “digital twin” (also referred to as a digital replica of an entity) can play a huge role in assisting operations/ projects (and in this instance, accidents) by fast pacing and automating what is traditionally considered as “traditional processes/ operational processes. The digital twin creates a replica of the original project/ operations- each and every detail is replicated. This ability means that it (the digital twin) can then be able to account for the behaviours and processes involved in a mining, construction and even manufacturing- all the way down to the individual materials and components. In simplified terms, a digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, process or service.


HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are 3 main elements to consider as far as a digital twin is concerned:

1. Past data – past performance data of individual machines, overall processes, and specific systems.

2. Present data – real-time data from equipment sensors, outputs from manufacturing platforms and systems, and outputs from systems throughout the distribution chain. It can also include outputs from systems in other business units, including customer service and purchasing.

3. Future data – machine learning as well as inputs from engineers.

The developers who create digital twins ensure that the virtual computer model can receive feedback from sensors that gather data from the real world version. This makes it possible for the digital version to replicate and simulate whatever is happening with the original version in real time, creating opportunities to gather insights into performance and any potential risks problems that might be incurred.

A digital twin can be as complex or as simple as one requires it to be, with varying amounts of data determining how precisely the model simulates the real world physical version.


THE BENEFITS OF USING DIGITAL TWINS/ DIGITAL TWIN SOFTWARE:

· It allows management to become more agile in their response to market demand.

· Enables improved forecasting and increases safety (looking out for future outcomes and various scenarios).

· Data extracted from the digital twin can be used in aiding predictive asset maintenance and management.

· Allows people in differing operational roles to combine varying asset information in a single place.

· It offers a riveting, comprehensive view of each component part of an asset and how they work together collectively, thus improving asset planning, execution, maintenance and management.

· It provides users with timely and accessible data that can be checked against their assets.


3-D RENDERING:

A digital twin is, in its own right, a 3-D rendering. 3-D Rendering is the process of producing an image based on three- dimensional data stored within a computer. Some of the benefits listed of using 3-D rendering are, but are not limited to:

- A considerable amount of time saved

- Cost effective

- Provides ease where the depiction of projects and concepts is concerned

- Quick and easy to share

- Identifies and fixes problems ahead of construction/ execution.


ABOVE: 3D RENDERINGS FROM OUR SITE VISIT IN WITBANK, MPUMALANGA


At Nafasi, we digitize our surrounding to create robust analytical 3-D models to bring out engineering value. We seek to refine efficiency, reduce costs, and provide a large scope of information to make sound decisions. Merging progressive drone platforms and scanning technology together with 3-D technologies, artificial intelligence and engineering analysis principles. Nafasi was established to bring executive solutions to solve these very great challenges faced by the industry.

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